The Senate Appropriations Committee voted on Thursday to approve a bill that would extend and sharply expand California’s film and television tax credit program to keep production in the state.
The bill, sponsored by San Fernando Valley area Assemblymen Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, and Raul Bocanegra, D-Pacoima, would provide $400 million in annual subsidies, up from the current $100 million annual program set to expire.
The bill will be considered later this month by the full Senate, where it is expected to pass and be sent on to Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature.
The bill will provide credits to productions starting in 2016 and running through 2019. The current entertainment tax credit program, which began in 2009, disperses its funds via a lottery system operated by the California Film Commission.
The lottery will be terminated under AB 1839 and productions would be chosen by the number of new net jobs created and total economic impact.
The bill also would open the program to feature films of any budget size, television pilots and new hour-long series regardless if they are on broadcast TV, cable or the Internet. It also would increase to 25 percent, from 20 percent, credits to productions filming outside the 30-mile zone centered in Los Angeles.
The vote followed a report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office that found the existing tax credit program does not pay for itself, but not extending it could mean the state would lose its leadership role in the entertainment industry.