Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants the state of California to double its film tax incentive program. The mayor’s lobbying last week comes after calls from other lawmakers this fall to stem the loss of film production from the Golden State.
Garcetti has asked the state to at least double the tax credit program, which amounts $100 million. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, he wants the program to include commercials and shows on premium networks with budgets north of $75 million.
Why would Hollywood need to lure filmmakers with tax credits? The state lost $3 billion between 2004 and 2011 because of runaway production. With other states like Louisiana and Georgia joining the fold and offering robust tax credit programs as well as gorgeous locations, you don’t have to be in Hollywood to shoot a movie these days.
Back in October I talked to Ken Droz, a Michigan-based industry consultant specializing in incentives, marketing and story analysis, about the fear of extending film tax incentives by too large of a margin. Here’s what he said at the time:
The big question is, how much California may increase their incentives? As they’re discovering, their initial program fund wasn’t that substantial, to make any kind of dent nationwide from other states. They’re in a quandary, and I totally understand the need to do something.
Garcetti understands the need to take action and thinks he can get the state back on track. “I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to do something,” Garcetti told Businessweek. “I think we’re going to see some stuff come back and some stuff that wouldn’t have filmed here stay.” With Garcetti banging his drum as mayor of the state’s largest city and heartbeat of the movie industry, lawmakers in Sacramento must be feeling the heat.
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Bill Bradley is a writer and reporter living in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in Deadspin, GQ, and Vanity Fair, among others.