In a call for action to support job retention and creation in one of California’s signature industries, the mayors from California’s largest cities — Los Angeles, Sacramento, Long Beach, San Francisco, Fresno, San Diego, Bakersfield, Santa Ana, Oakland and San Jose – today signed a letter backing legislation that will expand and improve California’s film and television production tax credit. In the letter, the mayors assert, “Extending California’s film and television production tax credit program is a smart, prudent investment in California’s future and economic competitiveness. The program is one of California’s most efficient and proven economic development tools, generating 51,000 jobs and providing $4.5 billion in direct spending since its inception in 2009.”
The letter comes at a time when California is losing tens of thousands of middle-class jobs and significant tax revenue to other states and nations when it comes to film and television production. Of the 54 big budget feature films of 2012 and 2013, only one was shot exclusively in California. Further, the current program does not accord tax credits to network, premium pay cable or Internet television series produced in California, all of which are now being produced elsewhere. Given these realities, few understand better than the mayors who are on the frontlines working to keep their cities thriving, the economic benefits that film and television production brings to local economies and the serious financial impact of this exodus of jobs and revenue.
“This is about middle class jobs across our state,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “California’s current incentive program is not competitive — the demand for productions that want to stay here far exceeds the current program’s resources. As a result, hundreds of productions are forced to relocate outside of California. By providing incentives for productions to remain or locate here, local employees are hired and the local economy is revitalized.”
The legislation, Assembly Bill 1839 by State Assemblymembers Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), is currently making its way through the state Legislature with broad bipartisan and geographic support. It has been co-authored by 66 legislators from across the state, and is supported by major state labor and business groups such as the California Labor Federation AFL-CIO and California Chamber of Commerce. In fact, the Regional Economic Association Leaders (R.E.A.L.) Coalition, an association of California’s 20 most influential business and economic development entities, also issued a definitive letter advocating for the bill’s enactment. Moreover, local government groups such as the League of California Cities and the 41 local film commission offices support the legislation.
“This is an economic development program focused on the retention and creation of jobs and economic opportunity,” asserts Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. “Enhancing the current program will help build a strong state and local tax base, and it is a wise strategic investment in California’s future.”
“A thriving film and television industry in San Francisco is creating jobs and economic opportunity for the residents of our world class city,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “This Statewide economic investment not only ensures that California remains competitive, but also brings an influx of local spending and tax revenue for the entire Bay
Area region and showcases our region to the world through the magic of the silver screen.”
The letter concludes with the mayors avowing that “to once again be competitive, California must put in place a meaningful, expanded credit that will bring back jobs, increase revenue, and support small businesses and vendors all across the state. Too much is at stake for the people of California to let this key industry slip away.”