Gov. Jerry Brown today still wouldn’t commit to supporting an expansion of California’s $100M Film & TV Tax Credit program. “Certainly my office will engage in a lot of conversations on many issues like the movie tax credit,” he said today during a press conference in LA after he announced a revised proposed state budget that included a rainy-day fund, debt reduction, an increase in health care coverage and safeguarding teacher’s pensions. However, Brown’s revised budget didn’t have any increase to the state’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program.
“There’s a lot of things to talk about and certainly the topic you mentioned will be right there,” Brown said in response to a pair of Deadline’s questions, naming off several other state-funded programs outlined in his $156.2 billion budget. “My job is to present a balanced budget dealing with the core services.” Brown said there undoubtably be a revised version of the revised budget before June 15.
Brown’s lack of commitment to expanding the state’s Film and TV Tax credit program comes the same day that LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and the mayors of California’s nine other biggest cities publicly advocated such a move. Like Brown’s initial proposed budget in January, the state film & TV credit program wasn’t mentioned in today’s revision. If not renewed or expanded, the current program is set to fully expire on July 1, 2017. While he didn’t weigh in much the last time the program was up, Brown signed a two-year extension to the production incentive program on September 30, 2012, the last day possible.
Currently proposed legislation to expand the Film and TV tax credit program has no dollar figure attached to it though numbers of $300 million to $400 million have been bandied about behind the scenes. Sources tell me that a figure should be attached to the bill by the end of this month. Introduced in late February, the new multi-sponsored Film and Television Job Creation and Retention Act proposes, among other measures, allowing pics with budgets over $75 million and network pilots to now be eligible for state tax incentives – a major shift from the current lottery handed out program.
Gov. Brown’s comment today also comes as the proposal to expand and evolve the heavily criticized program faces its next legislative test in Sacramento today. The Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee will be holding a hearing on the proposed Act later this afternoon. Being that the Committee is chaired by Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) who is one of the co-authors of the AB 1839 legislation there is little doubt it will sail through today.
With support from the MPAA, the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, a number of IASTE locals, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office, the California Labor Association, the cities of West Hollywood and San Francisco, among others, the legislation received unanimous approval from the state Assembly’s Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, And Internet Media committee on March 25. However, the influential California Teachers’ Association and the California School Employees Association appeared to stress their opposition to AB 1839. Late last month, a report from the state’s Legislative Analyst Office neither recommended nor rejected the current legislation that’s moving through the state Assembly but said any such expansion should be done “cautiously.”