Support builds for tax credit

Lawmakers are pushing to extend the California Film and Television Tax Credit program, which has resulted in billions of dollars of economic activity.

Enacted in 2009, the legislation was designed to create jobs, increase production spending and generate tax revenues for California.

A bill authored by Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes (D-Sylmar) would extend the program, which provides $100 million in tax credits annually to production companies. About 150 projects have qualified since the program’s inception, according to a report by the California Film Commission.

The program is set to end in June 2012, but the bill proposes extending it through 2015. It was in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Friday.

In general, projects receive a 20% tax credit. The program allows a 25% credit for television series that previously filmed outside of California and for independent companies with budgets between $1 million and $10 million.

The program has generated approximately $3.8 billion in economic activity in the state, according to a report by the L.A. County Economic Development Corp that looked at the first 77 projects approved for tax credits. The program also created 20,000 jobs and brought in more than $200 million in tax revenues to local and state governments, the study found.

The 77 projects studied received approximately $199 million in tax credits, according to the study.

A measure to protect senior citizens from voter fraud is headed to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.

The legislation, authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake), would make it a misdemeanor for anyone providing care or direct supervision of a person who is at least 65 years old to coerce or deceive that person into voting contrary to the senior’s intent.

The bill passed in the state Assembly by a vote of 71-0 and in the Senate by 38-0.

“I authored AB 547 after hearing stories from my constituents about their parents and grandparents having their right to vote stolen by caretakers,” Gatto said in written statement. “With a rising number of our seniors finding themselves in living situations where they are under continuous care or supervision, some may find themselves in situations where there is intimidation, deception or coercion when it comes to participation in elections.”

A misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine and six months in jail.

An internal poll conducted for Rep. Brad Sherman’s (D-Sherman Oaks) campaign shows that he is leading against fellow Rep. Howard Berman (D-Valley Village) in what’s expected to be a highly competitive race in the newly drawn 30th Congressional District, where both men live.

Berman released a statement calling the privately paid poll a “typical politician’s tactic.”

In the poll, conducted by the Feldman Group, 600 likely voters were surveyed. Results showed that Sherman led in a three-way primary with 42% of the voters, followed by GOP candidate Mark Reed with 26% and Berman with 17%.

In a poll looking at a two-way face-off with Berman, Sherman had 51% of the voters and Berman got 24%.

The new 30th District, which includes a sliver of western Burbank, covers most of the western San Fernando Valley, patching together parts of Sherman’s and Berman’s current districts as well as a section Rep. Henry Waxman’s (D-Beverly Hills) current district. A slight majority of Sherman’s current district is in the revised district.

Berman said in a statement that because Sherman currently represents a large portion of the redrawn district, it makes sense that he would start out ahead.

“But after a campaign — by both sides — that fully informs the electorate of each candidate's accomplishments and each candidate's supporters, I am confident that this poll will find its way into the old poll dustbin,” Berman said.

Joyce Roys-Aguilera is the new district representative for state Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge).

She is fluent in Spanish and will serve as Liu’s representative to Spanish-speaking constituents, Liu’s office said.

Roys-Aguilera recently worked as an interim manager of a program to enhance post-baccalaureate opportunities for Latino students at Cal State Fullerton. She was previously a program manager of an education fund for the National Assns. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

She holds a master’s degree in educational policy and social context from UC Irvine, a bachelor’s degree in psychology and ethnic studies from Cal State Fullerton, and an associate’s degree from Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.

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