Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Over the First Hurdle

To nobody's surprise, AB 1839 clears the first legislative house.

California's TV and movie tax credit bill cleared the full state Assembly by a 71-0 vote on Wednesday, leaving Senate passage and Gov. Jerry Brown's approval as the final hurdles.

The bill, AB 1839, would extend the program through 2022 and expand the eligibility to include movies with budgets over $75 million and network TV dramas. No dollar figure has been attached to the bill, but it's almost certain to be significantly higher than the current program, which is capped at $100 million annually. That's well below the credits offered by several states, such as New York, which makes more than $400 million available annually, and that had led to a major production exodus over the past several years.

Wednesday's unanimous passage of the measure, introduced by Assemblymen Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) and Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), was expected since many of their colleagues had signed on as co-authors to show broad support for the bill. ...

The politics of this bill is tricky.

Republicans are for 1839 because it's a tax break. Democrats are for 1839 because it's a "jobs bill." But the California Teachers Association, which has a bit of influence in the state, opposes the measure because it takes revenue from the state's General Fund. And northern California Senators, who have yet to vote, say "I get why L.A. likes it, but what's in this package for my constituents?"

Then, of course, there's Governor Brown and the question of whether he'll sign the bill ... if and when it reaches his desk.

My prediction is ultimate passage and a signature into law, but I'm not an expert on the wheels of government in Sacramento. I could well be wrong.

Add On: the California Film and Television Production Alliance speaks:

“On behalf of hundreds of thousands of middle class California workers, creative talent, small businesses, vendors, local governments and film commissioners across the state, we wholeheartedly thank the two authors, Assembly Members Gatto and Bocanegra, and the entire California Assembly for their vote on AB 1839, the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act. The strength of the unanimous vote demonstrates the Assembly Members’ clear understanding of the vital economic importance of the motion picture industry to California and their determination to return this state to a competitive position. This could not have been achieved without the dedication of AB 1839’s authors, and the unwavering support of 67 co-authors. Our industry has been a vital part of California’s heritage and we want to continue be part of the Golden State’s economic vitality in the 21st century. This vote puts us one step closer to that reality.”


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