California Governor Jerry Brown just signed a bill on Thursday tripling the state’s tax breaks for entertainment companies doing business in Hollywood’s home state.
The move is meant to combat California’s economy has taken a $US2 billion hit from runaway production in the past four years as producers sought cheaper places to do business, according to the California Film Commission.
Back in June, the research division at FilmL.A., a not-for-profit film office specializing in coordinating permits for on-location shooting in Los Angeles, released a report detailing L.A.’s struggle to hold onto TV projects.
The study stated that the “2013/2014 development cycle saw New York (with 24 drama projects retained) dethrone Los Angeles (with 19 drama projects retained) to become North America’s most attractive location for one-hour TV pilot production.”
While the particular report focuses solely on the loss of television pilots, it indicated the troubles facing the entire Hollywood film industry.
The new bill, signed at a famed movie house from Hollywood’s heyday, won approval just days after Nevada persuaded electric car maker Tesla Motors to build a massive battery factory near Reno with $US1.3 billion in tax credits and other incentives.
“This legislation targets the heart and soul of this industry and our middle class — people who swing hammers, run cable and serve food on set so they can pay the bills and spend money in our economy,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in a news release after the signing at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.
With thousands of jobs dependent on film and television production in Southern California, Garcetti said the tax breaks would allow the state to fight back against incentives offered by other states.
The new legislation increases the amount of money available for tax credits for film and television production to $US330 million per year from about $US100 million.
Under the measure, the tax credits will be awarded through a lottery system, with preference given to companies that create the most jobs and do the most to help the state’s economy, Brown’s office said.
California has been battling for years to keep its storied film industry, a source of thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenues, at home, even as producers have sought cheaper places to film than heavily unionized Los Angeles.
The number of productions fleeing California has increased in recent years despite a state program meant to offer tax incentives to keep them in the most populous U.S. state.
In June, FilmL.A. President Paul Audley stated: “Losing television pilots — and then series — to other North American competitors leads to the destruction of steady, well-paying California jobs.” In total, there were 91 drama pilots produced outside of Los Angeles, which is a record number.
(Reuters reporting by Sharon Bernstein)
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.