UPDATE, 10:15 AM: The bill has officially been introduced as AB 1839 (read it here), and the final count is 59 co-sponsors alongside Gatto and Bocanegra.
PREVIOUS, 8:23 AM: There’s no dollar figure attached yet, but a bill set to be introduced today in the California Assembly aims to overhaul the state’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program. Joint-authored by Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), with more than 50 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle, the new legislation would give blockbusters with budgets of more that $75 million and 1-hour network TV shows and pilots a piece of the pie in the annual lottery in an effort to keep more productions in the state. In the current program, those categories are not eligible for incentives — a source of contention among the studios and networks and often cited as a large reason has fled from Hollywood. The widely anticipated Gatto-Bocanega effort also would propose a 5-year footing to run from 2016-2021 as opposed to its current 2-year extensions settings. Additionally, in a move that won’t please LA Mayor Eric Garcetti but is meant to keep Norther California legislators happy, there’s a 5% credit for production filmed outside L.A. Although left blank for now, sources tell me that the dollar figure being touted by supporting politicians and the industry is $400 million as the legislation now heads to committee. While that would be a big increase from the current program, which was established in 2009, and closer to New York state’s nation-best $420 million-plus incentive, the proposed figure is likely to be whittled down as real politicking takes over.
With such a wealth of co-sponsors from across the state, the new legislation looks certain to pass the Assembly but it still has to also get the approval of the state Senate and be signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who has been weary of adding new expenditures to the state’s now stable budget. Though at present there is no companion bill in the state Senate, insiders tell me that we could see a plan there in May or June. Brown signed the last two-year extension to the production incentive program on September 30, 2012, the last day possible. Currently, the program is set to expire next year and end in 2017.
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