“I believe the Governor and his staff are very interested in the progress of this legislation — I don’t think they’ve committed one way or another nor would I expect them to them to at this point in the progress, ” new LA Film Czar Ken Ziffren said today about the proposed expansion to California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program. With nearly 60 co-sponsors from across the state, the new legislation introduced last week 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 openly weary of adding new expenditures to the state’s now stable budget.
While Ziffren stressed during a conference call this morning that he wanted to see production in California return to its heights of the mid-1990s, he would not commit to a dollar figure he thought the new legislation should seek; the pending legislation has left the funding level blank as political wrangling takes place in Sacramento. However, industry sources have cited $400 million as the target amount for which the program should aim. “Our office is not committed to any number but to make sure all the legislators understand the need for improvement and modernization of legislation,” Ziffren said. “The number will follow depending on a number of factors like the economy, the size of the surplus, and other constituents in California.” Today was Ziffren’s first significant public statements since, as I exclusively revealed February 8, the heavyweight entertainment lawyer was tapped by L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to replace Tom Sherak as the first head of the City of LA’s Entertainment Industry and Production office after Sherak died January 28.