Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Meanwhile, Up In Sacramento

I've been in the state capital today and yesterday, lobbying and testifying for AB 1839. (That's the assembly bill designed to widen and improve California's movie and television tax credit. Designed to help, you know, California not get its head kicked in by other states and localities with tax credits of their own.)

The broad brush strokes of today's hearing:

... Today the bid to expand California’s current $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program passed its second legislative test in Sacramento. The state Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee unanimously 8-0 moved the multi-sponsored Film and Television Job Creation and Retention Act forward. ...

“At least 37 other states and jurisdictions have introduced incentive programs to take the entertainment industry out of our own state of California,” said Assemblyman Mike Gatto in testimony to the Taxation Committee today. “I hope that Bill ADF 1839 will combat the national and international competition for production. ...

A bit of glad news is that Gatto, under questioning, said that they would be inserting a visual effects piece into the bill, but are still working out "the right language." (Between you, me and the California population north of San Luis Obispo, I think this is a necessary addition if the authors want to win over State Senators from Northern California.)

But even if the legislation passes Assembly and Senate, there's still one last hurdle:

Governor 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. ...

Before the Hollywood labor contingent walked over to the state capitol, we talked about Jerry's stand-offishness. Thom Davis, the Entertainment Union Coalition's chairman, doesn't think Jerry will veto the bill when it reaches his desk. But I'm not necessarily convinced, since you ou can never tell what Governor Brown is going to do until he actually does it.

But let's accentuate the positive, shall we? Today was a good step forward. And the revelation that visual effects will be part of the bill is welcome news.


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