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California’s U.S. House members call on Jerry Brown to sign film tax incentive bill

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Thirty-five members of California’s congressional delegation urged Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to sign legislation greatly expanding the state’s tax subsidies for film and television production in a letter, arguing that “the future of our state’s economy and cultural identity depends on it.”

The California Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill Thursday, which quadruples the amount the state would hand out annually to convince production to film in state from $100 million to $400 million. It would be the second-highest amount in the country behind New York’s $420 million. The bill, which also allows big-budget films and one-hour television dramas that air online to be eligible for subsidies, was passed unanimously by the California Assembly in May.

“For years, out state has lost tens of thousands of middle-class jobs and significant revenue to other states that have more attractive tax incentive programs,” the letter, dated Wednesday, reads. “A meaningful expanded credit is necessary to bring back these jobs, lost revenue, and support small businesses and vendors all across the Golden State.”

Brown has expressed support for the entertainment industry, but hesitation over increasing subsidies, calling it an “arms race” with other states and countries that also offer subsidies.

The letter was signed by 34 Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Paul Cook.