California bill increases Hollywood tax credits

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown headed to the cradle of the Hollywood film industry Thursday to sign legislation that more than triples the state's tax credit to $330 million a year for films and TV shows produced in California.

Warren Beatty joined prop makers, producers and others in the entertainment industry to watch Brown ink Assembly Bill 1839 as he sat at a desk in the courtyard of Hollywood's historic Chinese Theatre.

The law, which takes effect next year, increases the annual film and TV tax credit offered by California and eliminates a selection process producers complained is flawed and arbitrary.

Advocates say the new law is crucial to preventing other states and countries from continuing to lure away film and TV production by offering their own lucrative incentives.

"California is on the move and Hollywood is a very important part of that," an animated Brown said as he stood near the concrete-embedded footprints of Peter O'Toole and Mary Pickford before signing the bill.

He lavished praise on Republicans as well as his fellow Democrats for getting the measure passed, saying it will create thousands of jobs.

"It isn't just government, it isn't just people in business, it isn't just labor unions, it's all of us working together," Brown said.

Under the new law, a lottery system used to award tax credits is being replaced by one based on the number of jobs a production creates and its overall positive impact on the state. Tax credits will also be allowed for bigger-budget productions than in the past.

Nearly a dozen speakers preceded Brown to the podium at the TLC Chinese Theatre IMAX as people dressed as Superman and other movie characters strolled by on Hollywood Boulevard.

Renata Ray, a prop master on TV's "Pretty Little Liars," tearfully recounted having to work out of state while her mother was at home dying of cancer because there were no jobs available in Hollywood at the time.

State Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, has said that in-state film production has dropped by nearly half during the past 15 years. This year, California approved 26 projects for tax credits out of the nearly 500 that applied.