A bill to extend the state’s film and television tax credit program for two years goes to the California State Senate following its passage in the State Assembly.

The assembly members on Aug. 16 voted 70-4 in favor of the bill to allocate $200 million to provide tax credits from July 1, 2015 through July 1, 2017.

The entertainment industry had pushed for a five-year extension for the tax credit program to show that lawmakers are committed to keeping film and television production in the state.

The bill was authored by Assembly Member Felipe Fuentes, whose district is in the San Fernando Valley, home to major studios, post-production houses, and suppliers and vendors to the industry.

The extension of the tax credit program allows tens of thousands of skilled and talented to continue working in an industry that is vital to the state’s economy, said a coalition of the Directors Guild of America and unions representing entertainment crew members.

“Without the extension, the State of California will have no chance of competing with more than 40 states and many foreign countries that offer generous incentive programs to retain and attract qualified motion pictures and television programs,” the coalition said in a prepared statement.

The tax credit program is administered by the California Film Commission.

The commission received more than 300 applications for the $100 million it had to allocate this year, an increase of 83 percent from the 176 applications received in 2011.

The commission provided tax credits for 28 projects, including one studio feature film, nine independent feature films, 10 television series, two television series that relocated to California, five independent movies of the week, and one independent mini-series.

Mark R. Madler