Tim Donnelly gubernatorial campaign announces billboard -- in Georgia

Donnelly unveils campaign billboard - in Georgia. "Movies should be made in Hollywood."

A day after Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari unveiled his first television ad, his GOP rival Tim Donnelly unveiled a campaign billboard – in Georgia.

"Movies should be made in Hollywood. I'm working hard to bring you back home," says the Atlanta-area billboard, which his campaign announced Tuesday.

Donnelly, an assemblyman from San Bernardino County, on Friday announced his plans for a Georgia billboard and said that media attention on it would boost his bid for governor in California.

Earlier this year, he introduced a bill that would expand film tax credits, saying it would make California competitive with other states and halt runaway production.

It died in the Assembly’s Arts and Entertainment committee on Tuesday.
The state has an existing film tax credit that is due to expire in 2017. For the last five years, $100 million in credits have been allocated by lottery annually.

Entertainment officials and Los Angeles-area politicians have been calling for an expanded credit, as the region has seen entertainment industry jobs move out of state.

A study by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office urged the Legislature to tread cautiously in expanding the credit, saying that the state gets back 65 cents in revenue for each $1 in film tax credit. Donnelly dismissed this finding as “a bunch of nonsense” at a news conference Friday at a Burbank liquor store across from a studio.

Donnelly’s proposal would have eliminated the annual cap and allow for a credit equal to 20% of a production’s spending in California, with a minimum of $500,000.

Producers of films, television shows, music videos, commercials and video games would be eligible, and there would be no expiration date. Additional credits would be available if the production included California promotional features or is made outside a major city.

The bill raised concerns among some conservatives, who are Donnelly’s most fervent supporters in the governor’s race but have opposed a subsidy to Hollywood studios.

Donnelly’s main GOP rival in the gubernatorial contest, Neel Kashkari, also opposes a tax credit specifically for the film industry, and has said he would focus on improving the overall business climate in the state.

Aaron McLear, a senior advisor to Kashkari, deemed Donnelly’s proposal “not exactly conservative,” and mocked Donnelly’s cash-strapped campaign for spending money in another state.

But “I don’t want to discourage him from the ways in which he’s spending his resources,” McLear said.

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