Eric Garcetti said today at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s second annual State of the Industry Conference that he is serious about getting state politicians to expand California’s $100 million annual Film/TV Tax Credit program. “We are going to go to Sacramento and storm that place like you’ve never seen before,” L.A.’s mayor said. In place since 2009, the current program “should be expanded because it makes good business sense,” he added. Garcetti also told the crowd that he wanted to launch a campaign to show people how production in LA benefits all businesses in the city. His remarks came after various speakers from both the industry and Sacramento criticized the current $100 million annual lottery system program as unstable, unrealistic and providing too little money.
“We can reverse this,” said LA Film Czar Tom Sherak today of runaway production after being introduced by the mayor. “Can we reverse it 100%? No, but we can reverse some production from going to other states, other cities and other countries,” he added. While offering no specifics, the former AMPAS President stressed — as he has before — that the heart of his argument is middle-class jobs.
Tapped in late September as Director of the city’s Entertainment Industry and Production office by Garcetti — a SAG-AFTRA card holder — Sherak hasn’t fully staffed up yet. However, sources tell me that he is close to naming a deputy and an industry “consigliere” to maneuver City Hall and prepare a plan for the mayor for early next year. Both individuals have to be vetted by the mayor’s office.
As both have acknowledged in the past, Garcetti and Sherak know getting more money out of the state is no sure thing. “Hollywood has not done a good job of telling the story of why these tax credits are so important,” state Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, told the crowd earlier. “It’s about good, solid middle-class jobs, not moguls.” The chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee had no answer for what could replace the current widely criticized lottery system but said he did want to see a way in which big-budget tentpoles could become eligible for the state’s Film/TV Tax Credit program. At present, features with budgets over $75 million are not eligible for the program.