Gatto bill would try to keep movie, TV productions in California

The allocation for the state's program to keep film and television jobs in California may expand to $400 million — quadrupling the current amount — if legislation that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee with a 5-0 vote on Thursday passes in the full Senate and is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) introduced the new measure. The original legislation that created the program — the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act — took effect in 2009.

Other proposed changes to the act include allowing big-budget blockbusters to qualify for incentives and protecting jobs and wages for below-the-line workers, such as crew members.

The act kept 51,000 jobs in the state and generated $4.5 billion in economic activity, according to the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Despite the monetary boost, the California's film and television industry lost more than 16,000 jobs from 2004 to 2012. That includes a loss of $1.5 billion in wages and economic activity.

Gatto said the tax dollars generated from those wages help with funding throughout the state.

"Those people fund schools from Eureka to San Diego," he said. "If we don't have a healthy middle class paying taxes and contributing to their local communities, everything in our state will suffer."

Gatto said looking past the issue of money, having productions move out of state also has a consequence of splitting up families for long periods of time.

"When you tell the father of a family they're going to be relocated to Atlanta for 10 months, that's very hard for a family," he said.

The legislative session ends Aug. 31.

Staff writer Arin Mikailian contributed to this story.

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