Capitol Alert

Recast tax break for TV and film lures ‘VEEP,’ other shows to California

California Gov. Jerry Brown holds up AB 1839, The Expanded Film and Television Job Creation Act, after signing the legislation into law, in front of TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, on Sept. 18, 2014. The extension and expansion of the program already has attracted four TV shows, the state film office says.
California Gov. Jerry Brown holds up AB 1839, The Expanded Film and Television Job Creation Act, after signing the legislation into law, in front of TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles, on Sept. 18, 2014. The extension and expansion of the program already has attracted four TV shows, the state film office says. AP

In its first months, California’s expanded film and TV production tax credit has prompted producers of four out-of-state TV shows to decamp for the Golden State, according to the state’s film office.

The California Film Commission accepted the first two rounds of applications for the extended and expanded tax credit approved by Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers a year ago. Among the conditional recipients of $83 million in credits are “VEEP,” “American Horror Story,” “Secrets and Lies,” and “Hindsight,” which film in Maryland, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Georgia, respectively.

Since 2009, the state has allocated about $760 million in credits, generating $5.93 billion in total spending, according to the California Film Commission.

A $100 million annual film credit created in 2009 expired in June. Last August, lawmakers passed a five-year program that more than tripled its size, to $330 million, and expanded it to include high-budget feature films and TV series.

“With program funding tripled in size, the state can anticipate even greater gains in both production and employment,” the film commission said in its latest progress report.

The film tax credit is one of dozens created by the Legislature. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office questioned the program’s worth in a report last spring, citing concerns of a tax credit “race to the bottom” by states competing for film and TV jobs.

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