Governor Jerry Brown talked about the promise of California and played up the state’s economic comeback during a campaign fundraiser Thursday at Disney Studio boss Alan Horn’s Bel-Air home. A mostly industry crowd of about 100 including Robert Downey Jr. and Larry Flynt turned out for the 6:30-8:15 PM event, which was put on by a Hollywood political patrician guard. Co-hosts included Jeffrey Katzenberg, Warner Bros’ Barry Meyer and Kevin Tsujihara, Fox’s Jim Gianopulos, Universal’s Ron Meyer, Paramount’s Brad Grey, Sony’s Michael Lynton and MPAA chief Chris Dodd as well as Steven Spielberg and David Geffen, though Geffen didn’t attend. All of the co-hosts had pledged to raise $54,440 each for Brown’s re-election campaign next year. Tickets for the event went from $5,000 to mogul-level $27,200. Details are sketchy about the exact amount of money raised Thursday night, but a source tells me “it’s a nice chunk of change” with estimates around $2 million.
Horn introduced Dodd, who in turn intro’d the governor. Amid his broad-strokes speech about California’s new multibillion-dollar budget surpluses and such, one topic Brown didn’t bring up was the status or future of the state’s film and TV tax credits program. The latest two-year extension of California’s current $100 million annual lottery program is set to expire next year, and talk of more money and great stability for the program is in the air to increase production in the home of Hollywood. Introduced in 2009 to help halt runaway production, the program was extended by Brown in late September 2012 and will run until July 2017. Despite the state’s coffers now overflowing after years of crushing deficits, Brown on Thursday cautioned against new expenditures and advocated putting the increased revenues away in a rainy-day fund.
While Brown hasn’t formally declared that he is running for another term, there is no doubt that the past and current governor wants one more swing of the Sacramento bat — and with California’s finances in order for the first time in years, he looks like a shoo-in. The governor was the recipient of big bucks from Hollywood in his successful 2010 campaign to return to running the state after a 26-year break.