The Los Angeles City Council today unanimously passed a measure eliminating fees that TV pilots pay to film in the city. The politicians also passed a measure to waive similar fees for the first year for any LA-filmed pilot that is picked up to series. Proposed last year by councilman and Hollywood-friendly mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti, the measures are designed to stop the siphoning of production and jobs from LA to other cities and regions. Permitting organization FilmLA says 92 pilots were produced in LA last year out of a total of 152.
Even with a city budget estimated to be $327 million in the red, the loss of the fees won’t hurt LA very much. The city collected approximately $231,000 in fees related to TV pilot production during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. That loss in revenue was small, Garcetti said in arguing for the waivers, because encouraging pilots to film in LA could have a greater spillover effect to the local economy — especially if the pilots become series and stay in town. While pilot production, like almost all production, has fallen in LA in recent years, it is seeing a bit of an upturn. FilmLA said earlier this year that pilot production in 2012 was actually up 2.2% compared with 2011.