UPDATE, 3:40 PM: Eric Garcetti said today that there will be an expansion of California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program, it is only a question of how much it will be. The remark from the LA Mayor this afternoon came after Garcetti and several other California Mayors met with Gov. Jerry Brown and other state politicians in Sacramento. The current thinking, as Deadline reported last week, is that the program will be upped to around $400 million. That will likely happen before or during a hearing of the state Senate Appropriations committee on the widely supported and multi-sponsored Film and Television Job Creation and Retention Act. If the Act gets the blessing of the Senator Kevin de Leon chaired committee, it will go to the Senate floor for a full vote and then to Brown’s desk for his signature. Garcetti has been a vocal and active supporter of halting runaway production out of the home of Hollywood and encouraging filming in the Golden State.
PREVIOUS, AUGUST 12: One day before the state Senate’s Appropriations Committee holds pivotal hearings on legislation to likely triple California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti is heading up to Sacramento to throw some political capital around in the last stretch. Passage by the Appropriations committee would send the widely supported and multi-sponsored Film and Television Job Creation and Retention Act to the Senate floor for a full vote and then to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. Garcetti’s visit to Sacramento comes a week before a self titled “Mobilization Day” rally is scheduled for August 20 in front of the state building by the California Film and TV Production Alliance and others to encourage passage of the Act.
A big proponent of keeping filming in the City of Angels and halting runaway production since he took office last year, Garcetti plans tomorrow to meet with all the major players involved. According to the Mayor’s office, that means the act’s co-author Assemblyman Mike Gatto; outgoing Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg; publicly uncommitted Brown; and incoming Senate President Pro Tem and Appropriations Committee chair Kevin de Leon. If this reeks of a little bit of ring kissing, it just might be. Last week the influential de Leon turned against the expansion of the tax incentive program before walking back his death-knell opposition less than 24 hours later by saying he was now “100% committed to passing an extension and expansion of that credit this year.” The LA-based senator had wanted to see major changes to the way the credits are allocated, including scrapping the present annual lottery system.
While de Leon is not alone in that desire, his stark requirement, as expressed in an email on August 5 from his Chief of Staff, left many industry leaders and political types feeling blindsided by a last-minute demand. As important a player as de Leon is and with the act before his committee on Thursday, where the raising of the tax credits to near or even more than $400 million is expected to be formally announced, the real swing vote is Brown. Where the governor stands on all this could tip the scales and see the raising of the credits a done deal, effective next year. So far, Brown has pleaded fiscal prudence on the issue in relation to other needs in the state. Privately, the governor is said to think that raising the incentives to around $200 million could be enough.
Sources tell me that Garcetti hopes to change Brown’s attitude, at least privately, and get the governor to agree to the substantial increase in the program. To that end, the LA mayor’s office also said their boss plans to appear at a 3 PM press conference in the state capitol tomorrow to discuss the tax credits along with several other pieces of legislation that the Senate will need to get to Brown’s desk for signature before the current session ends at the end of the month. Garcetti will not be alone. Similar to the May 14 letter sent by a number of Golden State mayors backing expansion of the film and TV tax credits program, Garcetti will be joined on Wednesday in Sacramento by Mayors Chuck Reed of San Jose, Ed Lee of San Francisco, Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, Robert Garcia of Long Beach, Jean Quan of Oakland and Miguel Pulido of Santa Ana. The question is will the last-minute push be enough to get the deed done?