Landmark $400 Million Film and Television Job Creation Act
Passes Final Committee, Headed to Senate Floor
Bill by Assemblymen Gatto and Bocanegra Takes Aim at the Flight of Film
The long saga of AB 1839, the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act of 2014, continued but passed its final committee barrier today, clearing the Senate Appropriations Committee by a 5-0 vote. The legislation, authored by Assemblymen Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) and Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), contained numerous amendments today which represent the culmination of nearly a year of research and negotiations and would expand and significantly improve the state’s current program to keep production jobs in California.
The most anticipated amendment to the bill expands the program’s allocation to $400 million a year.
Other changes include: allowing big-budget blockbusters – which create the most jobs – to qualify for the incentive; spending requirements to protect jobs and wages for below-the-line workers; creating certainty for television series by guaranteeing credits if the show is renewed; and providing larger incentives for film and television productions that move to California from out of state and those that film outside of Los Angeles.
“I’ve heard from so many people over the past year, who have told me about their family being torn apart because production left the state,” said Gatto. “This proactive effort ensures well-paying jobs stay in California and families remain together.”
California’s film and television industry has faced increasing competition in recent years from subsidies by other states and countries. Since its creation in 2009, the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act prevented as many as 51,000 well-paying jobs from leaving the state, and helped generate $4.5 billion in economic activity. Despite the program’s success, figures from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics show that from 2004-2012, California lost more than 16,000 film-and television-industry jobs, resulting in more than $1.5 billion in lost wages and economic activity.
“Passing this expanded and improved program is a critical step forward to bringing back high-paying film jobs to California,” said Bocanegra. “I’d like to thank Chairman De León for his leadership on this effort. He’s been a tremendous partner and champion for the film industry. I appreciate the Committee’s support of AB 1839 today and look forward to continuing the fight to move this through the legislative process and ultimately see it signed into law.”
The bill now goes to the Senate floor, where it needs to be voted on by the end of the legislative session, August 31, 2014.