Amid mounting evidence that rival states are chipping away at California’s movie and TV production business, a coalition of entertainment unions and film industry officials is renewing a push to provide long-term funding for California’s popular film tax credit program.
But the effort faces an uphill challenge in Sacramento, where lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown are wrestling with a wider-than expected $16-billion budget deficit.
California currently sets aside $100 million annually for dozens of projects applying for credits that cover 20% to 25% of qualified production expenses. The program is limited compared to what many other states offer in that it excludes movies with budgets of more than $75 million.
Still, supporters say since its debut in 2009, the tax credit has kept productions in California that would have filmed elsewhere and is vital to keep the state competitive at a time when nearly 40 states offer film tax credits and rebates to filmmakers.