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HOLLYWOOD lobbies to extend tax credit for California productions – Los Angeles Times

September 5, 2011

Hollywood lobbies to extend tax credit for California filming

Hollywood moguls and unions ask California Legislature to extend a $500-million tax credit for film and television show productions in the state.

September 04, 2011|By Nicholas Riccardi and Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times

Hollywood wants a $500-million blockbuster out of Sacramento.

In the final days of the legislative session, the industry is seeking a five-year extension of a tax credit for producing films and television shows in California. It has assembled a powerful coalition of moguls and unions, who argue that failing to re-up the program risks losing film jobs to states offering even more generous rebates.

That is something, advocates argue, that the state with the second-highest jobless rate in the nation cannot afford. “This is a proven program that creates jobs and stimulates the economy,” said Vans Stevenson, senior vice president of government affairs for the Motion Picture Assn. of America. “Our companies are all based in California, and we want to see the industry grow here.”

But California is also the state with the largest budget deficit, and opponents balk at reserving $500 million for industry incentives at a time when lawmakers are slashing social services, laying off teachers and raising tuition at public universities.

“It’s a little unusual to me that a Democratic-controlled Legislature would give $500 million to corporations when they’ve so viciously cut poor people and sick people over the last four years,” said Dave Low of the California School Employees Assn., one of the few unions to oppose the measure.

The debate comes as many states — spurred by the economic downturn — have begun to question the efficacy of using public money to lure film production. At least five states have ended or suspended their programs in the last two years.

via Hollywood lobbies to extend tax credit for California productions – Los Angeles Times.


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