It’s called AB 1839. Sounds like a robot character from the movies. What does it have to do with multitudes of actors struggling to procure work in Los Angeles? The bill AB 1839 was introduced in February as the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act aiming to keep Hollywood projects here in California instead of fleeing to other states and countries that offer lucrative tax incentives. In May, the bill was presented on the Legislature floor emphasizing the disturbing amount of runaway production lost especially within the last decade. “Those jobs are not coming back unless we take off the gloves and fight for this industry,” asserted Assemblyman Tim Donnelly. Upon passing the California Assembly with a unanimous vote, AB 1839 moved to the Senate where it passed in late August.

Up till late August, Governor Jerry Brown had remained silent regarding his position on the bill, but he came forward in support of it provided the $400 million discussed amount be trimmed to $330 million. Then this week, Brown gathered with a crowd of the many supporters of AB 1839 outside of Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre. “California is on the move, and Hollywood is a very important part of that,” stated Brown just before signing the legislation. “It’s not only a golden state, but home of the silver screen.” He’s convinced thousands of new jobs will emerge from the new law.

The bill increases the Golden State’s annual incentive program from $100 million a year to $330 million beginning next year. The old, once-a-year lottery system of receiving tax credits that was introduced in 2009 is now being replaced with a merit-assessment scheme with an increased emphasis on job creation.

The bill’s two authors, Assembly Members Gatto and Bocanegra were present at the signing as was L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. Just over a year ago, Garcetti declared California’s declining entertainment industry in a state of emergency, but this week he said, “Production and production jobs aren’t running away from California. They’re being lured away by big financial incentives from other states. Today we fight back.”

States such as New York, Georgia, Louisiana in addition to countries like Canada and the UK have successfully attracted productions with profitable incentives.

The bill received plenty of support from a coalition of guilds, unions, producers, businesses and associations invested in production in California including HBO, Disney, SAG-AFTRA, the Television Academy, CBS Studios–among numerous others. Collectively, they formed The California Film and Television Production Alliance hoping to expand California’s $100-million Film and TV Tax Credit program. Since the signing, they released a statement saying, “Today is a day that we have worked toward for over a year. We represent small businesses, film commissions, local government officials, and most importantly, thousands of working men and women across the state who dedicated months of their lives to writing letters, attending rallies and meetings, testifying, signing petitions, and traveling to Sacramento–all with the goal of making AB 1839 … a reality.”

CA’s infrastructure took a hit, and it will be a challenge to rebuild, and will take time. But next year the incentives begin and are to be handed out by the California Film CommissionFeatures will go up to $80.5 million, and new TV pilots and renewed series will get $92 million. These categories will increase to $115.5 million and $132 million respectively during the program’s second through fifth years. Relocating productions from out of state will receive $46 million starting the first year, and $66 million after that. Indie pictures will benefit from $11.5 million in tax credits initially and see $16.5 million in the subsequent years. And productions that shoot in areas of California outside Southern California will be given a five-percent additional incentive.

Will this new law be able to mend the serious blow that Hollywood has taken over the past number of years? Or do you think it’s too little too late? Here’s to these new tax laws translating to real job opportunities for California actors!

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