Film Friendly Once Again

In response to a precipitous drop in regional film production, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich authored a motion unanimously approved by the board of supervisors to launch an aggressive effort to halt runaway production. The flight of the multi-billion dollar film and production industry has created an enormous impact on the Los Angeles County economy – increasing unemployment, shrinking local businesses and weakening fiscal resources.

“The loss of film and television production in Los Angeles County is a direct result of the state’s excessive taxes and job-killing regulations which are devastating our local economy,” said Supervisor Antonovich whose motion will push reforms to make California competitive with other states that have successfully lured away film and television production.

Feature filming in Southern California dropped 50% from its peak in 1996 – and television documentaries are down 39% from its peak in 2008. Workers in the region have lost more than $3 billion in entertainment production wages over the last decade. Most recently, the departure of “The Tonight Show” from Burbank to New York City resulted in the direct loss of 150 jobs – and a severe blow to those employed in ancillary industries including electricians, carpenters, caterers and countless employees that support production.

“In 1997, every big-budget film but one was filmed, at least partially, in Los Angeles County; but in 2013, only two movies with production budgets higher than $100 million were filmed here,” he said.

“California needs to aggressively pursue incentives similar to Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina – even New York – states that are successfully poaching production away from California by offering generous economic benefits,” he added.

• Georgia – 20% tax credit led to a 300% increase in its share of top-grossing movies.

• Massachusetts – 25 cents in tax credits for every new dollar spent in the state helped the state rise from 18th place in film production to 11th place in only five years.

• Louisiana – 30% tax credit and an additional 5% labor tax credit for state residents employed by the motion picture industry helped the state add over 6,000 jobs in film production between 2010 and 2012 and quadruple its share of top-grossing movies.

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