Local 399 has been working hard with an indecisive state government to bring an extension of the current tax credit program and keep productions in California. It has been a decade-long battle first begun by Motion Picture Division Director Leo T. Reed in the 1990’s.
Ed Duffy, Business Agent for Local 399, has made several trips to Sacramento and understands the situation fully. He diligently works to keep members informed through regular emails and news briefs. “I want to thank all members who called their Senators and Assembly representatives encouraging them to support the bill. On October 9thGovernor Brown signed the extension so that we can have some comfort in knowing we have two more years of tax credits. Then in January we will be back fighting for more.”
The film and TV tax program distributes $500 million in tax credits – spread over five years – as an incentive to keep filmmakers in California. But, as important the film tax program is to hundreds of thousands of people affected by runaway production, certain state legislators had been reluctant to extend the tax credits with the current budgetary problems.
For several months both the State Assembly and the Senate have demonstrated tremendous fluctuation of first support, then opposition, to the proposed extension of the Film Tax Bill AB 1067. Introduced by Assembly member Felipe Fuentes, the bill to extend the current film and TV tax credits, represents a solid means of discouraging runaway production, as film companies have fled California to more tax and incentive friendly states such as New York, Georgia, and Louisiana.
In his lobbying effort, Duffy has spent months following the rollercoaster of support and confusion over the bill. Speaking about September’s legislative session, Duffy said, “In 24 hours we went from being attached to the Governor’s job bill with a five year extension, to a three year extension with budget triggers, to a one year extension with no budgetary triggers attached.”
According to statistics, the 2009 tax credit program has brought over 115 projects back to California and over 2.2 billion dollars in production spending, saving thousands of jobs for members. The extension will continue the current $100 million a year in film tax credits past the 2013 sunset date and add an additional one year and $100 million in 2014/15.