Governor's business director gives thumbs up to film industry

Governor's business director gives thumbs up to film industry
Director of the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development Kish Rajan. (Dan Steinberg / Invision for InnovAge)

It's the question on the minds of many in Los Angeles' film community:

Does Gov. Jerry Brown get how badly the state's film and TV industry has been squeezed by runaway production?

Kish Rajan, director of the Governor's Office of Business & Economic Development, offered some reassuring words to film commissioners and industry executives who gathered in Hollywood on Thursday for an annual breakfast hosted by the California Film Commission.

Rajan stopped short of saying whether Brown would rally behind a bill winding through the Assembly that would significantly expand California's film and TV tax credit program, which allocates $100 million annually but is due to run out of funds next year. A final vote is not expected until late summer.

"You know there will be difficult political considerations," Rajan said, alluding to expected opposition to the bill in the Senate, and Brown's own skepticism toward industry tax breaks.

But Rajan did offer some encouraging words to the crowd.

"The reason I'm here is we've developed a very clear understanding and appreciation of how vitally important this sector is to the economy," Rajan said.

"There is no greater marketing engine for that California brand than the film and TV industry," he added. "I can tell you he [Brown] understands how important you are."