State Senate leader says tax credit program is bringing TV, film crews back

California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León told a crowd of business leaders in Hollywood that the state's newly expanded film and television tax credit program is beginning to bring crews back to Southern California.

"Many productions were leaving the state to shoot film and TV shows somewhere else," said de León, who spoke at a Hollywood Chamber of Commerce luncheon held Friday at Paramount Pictures. "Production workers were separated from their families here in California because they had to shoot in states like Georgia and Louisiana. Well, I'm happy to say we have started to reverse that trend."

De León (D-Los Angeles) credited the the law he helped to pass last year that tripled annual funding for the state's film and TV tax credit program and allowed more types of projects to qualify for the incentives.

The law, which enables producers to offset as much as 25% of their production costs, replaced an unpopular lottery with a system in which credits are awarded based on how many jobs companies create.

The California Film Commission last month selected 11 TV productions to receive the $82 million in credits, including four TV series that moved to California from other states. Among them are "Veep," the HBO political comedy, which moved from Maryland, and FX's "American Horror Story," which relocated from Louisiana.

De León cited the relocating shows as evidence that the new tax credits are working.

"We are showing the world once again there is no better place for film and television production than California," de León said. "The new film-tax credit is working and it will maintain our state's status as the entertainment capital of the world."

The jury is still out on whether the new program succeeds in bringing back large feature films to California. Even with the new incentives, California still faces heavy competition from Georgia, Louisiana, Canada and Britain. The application period for features is scheduled for July 13-25.

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