California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act Approved by Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Sacramento, California – Today AB 1734 (California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act), a measure authored by Majority Leader Ian Calderon which extends and makes improvements to the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program, was approved by the Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media.

“Few industries are more indelibly tied to a location than the entertainment industry is to California,” stated Majority Leader Calderon. “This industry creates hundreds of thousands of good paying, middle-class jobs and billions in economic activity throughout California each year.”

Since the late 1990s, other states and countries have lured production out of California with generous tax breaks.  In those years of runaway production, California suffered massive losses of jobs, revenue, investment and the erosion of the film industry.

In an effort to restore California’s competitive advantage for film and television production and bring jobs home, the Legislature passed the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program in 2009.  Building on the successes of that program, the Legislature approved AB 1839 in 2014, which implemented a five-year production tax incentive for feature films and TV series, capped at $330 million annually.  This 2.0 Program included various improvements, including replacing the old lottery system with a jobs ratio ranking system, whereby applications are ranked based upon the number of jobs created and other economic factors, as well as providing special incentives to lure television programs back to the state.

The California Film and Television Tax Credit Program has a proven track record of creating and retaining jobs in the film industry.  It incentivizes the creation of the good, middle-class “below-the-line” jobs for workers who do technical work, such as creating props, building sets, applying make-up, finding locations and all the work behind the scenes that makes production possible. The benefits extend beyond the thousands employed in film and television production to the ancillary businesses that serve the production sites and teams, such as the caterers, hotels, set construction companies, restaurants, and much more.

As of today, the California Film Commission reported that 150 feature films and TV series were produced or scheduled in California with total expenditures of $5.9 Billion. More than 47,000 California cast and crew members and thousands more cast members have been re-employed or will be employed on approved, qualified projects.

The current program will sunset on June 30, 2020.  AB 1734 extends the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program until July 1, 2025.  The bill retains important provisions of the previous tax credit, including:

  • Awards tax credits according to a jobs ratio rating system, whereby applications are ranked based upon the number of jobs created and other economic factors;
  • Ensures that similar productions compete against each other by establishing separate “buckets” for feature films, television series and independent productions;
  • Retains a special category – and additional credit – for TV series that are relocating from filming outside of California;
  • Offers an additional 5% tax credit increase for production outside the Los Angeles 30-mile zone.

AB 1734 will also create a Career Pathways Training Program to focus on underserved communities in our state and produce the next generation of well-paid, highly-skilled workers in our local economies.

“AB 1734 will continue to restore California’s competitive advantage for film and TV production and to bring jobs back to California, thus ensuring that this vibrant industry remains part of California’s legacy,” added Majority Leader Calderon.

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Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (562) 692-5858