Dear Governor Brown,
On behalf of the Teamsters Local 399 who represent over 6,000 Drivers, Location Managers, Casting Directors and other support staff working in the Motion Picture Industry in California, we write to you requesting your signature on AB 1069: the 1-year extension of the California Film and Television Jobs Incentive Program.
Over the past decade, our Members watched with dismay as Film and Television production ran away from California in favor of tax incentives offered first in Canada, then in other countries like Australia and the UK, and finally to over 40 states. They watched their ability to support their families greatly diminish, in many instances forcing them to move to another state for work. But thanks to the creation of this incentive in 2009, California put itself back on the map again.
In the first two years since its creation, the production incentive has made it possible for 113 productions to be shot in California and for an estimated 25,700 Crew and 6,100 Cast Members to be employed and over 760,000 in below-the line-wages; in other words, this is a JOBS BILL. This incentive represents REAL work, jobs, and payments to our Members’ Health and Pension Plans.
Our Members are being employed on these productions. Similarly reaping the economic benefit from the incentive are local businesses throughout the state, such as hotels, dry cleaners, caterers, lumber yards and other ancillary vendors counting on the industry for their support.
Film companies are corporations and just like any other corporation it’s all about the bottom line. Without the California incentive, we know that many of these productions would have shot in other states or abroad—and the revenue generated and jobs created would have gone elsewhere. And who does it hurt? Not the companies, they can make their product anywhere, but all of us…the working people, our members and all those who work and support the entertainment business in California.Projects such as “Moneyball,” reminding us of the glory days of the Oakland Athletics, or the series “Terriers” which shot exclusively in San Diego, would have been shot in other States or Countries, much as “Battle for Los Angeles” was shot in Louisiana and “Mildred Pierce” which imported palm trees to depict the California landscape, was shot in New York, if not for the current incentives.
With the California Film and Television Jobs Incentive Program close to expiration and threatening the film companies’ ability to count on the incentives with any long term certainty which is necessary for their production planning, we hope that we will have your signature to extend the program for an additional year. It is quite clear that a great deal of foresight, grounded in knowledge of how our business works, went into this program and the language contained in the 2009 legislation. AB 1069 gives California the needed competitive edge to keep its heritage industry robust and will continue the successful momentum of the program.
We know that our industry will not survive unless the State, which had the foresight to create this program and with their overwhelming vote of support in both the Assembly and Senate, continues to make it viable to keep productions in our state. For many years, we worked for a California incentive and we are happy to have such a strong piece of legislation.
On behalf of our members we appreciate your efforts to keep our industry in California, where it started and where it belongs.
Leo T. Reed