EXCLUSIVE: Taking it down to the wire, lawmakers in Sacramento are looking to increase California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program by up to 300%. As the multi-sponsored Film and Television Job Creation and Retention Act heads to the important state Senate’s Appropriation committee on Monday, it will be amended to include a figure of around $400 million, sources tell me. In fact, the dollar figure for the annual incentive could go up to more than $400 million to exceeded the $420 million that New York state hands out each year to attract production to the Empire State. “The final numbers are still being added up but between $300 and $400 million looks pretty certain to be submitted in an amendment next week,” a political insider told me. “In discussions, the figure hasn’t really ever dropped below $400 million for the legislation” another source noted.
Though long desired by ailing the Hollywood production community, the surge in California’s tax incentives will not happen in one fell swoop. The spotlight on the anti-runaway production legislation means the Act likely won’t see action before the Appropriations committee until August 14 even though it is on the agenda for the August 11 hearing. The California Legislature ends its 2013-2014 session at month’s end, and the last-minute scramble is on with a high number of bills being put before the committee. To that end, the August 11 hearing will punt the Act three days until the August 14 hearing before the dollar figure plus other amendments attached to the incentive bill are announced. That August 14 date will probably see the committee taking a vote. Sources also say negotiations between Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislative leadership over the tax credits will begin soon, perhaps even before the hearing. (more…)