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California's film production tax credit passes first legislative test

SACRAMENTO -- Legislation aimed at extending California's film production tax credit won unanimous bipartisan support from its first committee.

The bill is urgently needed to give California an incentive to lure movie and television production back to its birthplace and combat generous tax subsidies now available in more than 40 states, such as Louisiana, New York and Michigan, supporters said.

The state's current film tax credit, $100 million a year, is set to expire this year. The new proposal does not yet have a price tag, although some backers said they'd prefer it be at least as large as New York state's $400-million-a-year program.

Representatives from movie trade unions, movie studios, caterers and other service providers, state and local film commissions and local governments, including the city and county of Los Angeles packed a hearing of the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Committee.

The crowd broke into fervent applause when the committee voted 7-0 to send the measure by Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) to the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee.

About 70 lawmakers have signed on as co-authors of the bill, AB 1839, which has solid support across party lines and in all regions of the Golden State.

"We can't afford to let any more jobs abandon our state," Gatto said. "This effort is a rare example of government appropriately taking steps to ensure well-paying jobs stay in California."

Gatto predicted his proposal would encounter little opposition in the Assembly but could run into some criticism in the state Senate.

Gov. Jerry Brown, so far, has taken no public position on the bill.

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Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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