California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) announced Wednesday he had reached a deal with lawmakers on an expanded tax credit for film and television production, setting the annual cap at $330 million and ending the state’s lottery system.
Since the bill was introduced back in February, Brown has been the only major elected official in California to express reluctance at dramatically increasing the state’s subsidies, which have been set at $100 million a year since 2009. While he has called them “a bit of an arms race,” the Assembly and Senate Appropriations Committee passed the bill with zero opposition. The $330 million figure represents a compromise, down from the $400 million the Senate Appropriations Committee approved earlier this month.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D), one of the bill’s sponsors, said in talking with Brown, he “tried to appeal to [his] contrarian nature” by going over the most “hostile studies” on the effectiveness of incentives for film and television production.
“Let’s define the program based on that,” Gatto said. “Even under its harshest critics, we’re preserving and iconic industry in California.”
Brown said in a statement the bill would “make key improvements” to the state’s incentive program and “put thousands of Californians to work.”
The bill will also eliminate the current once-a-year lottery system which determined which projects received tax incentives and replace it with a twice-a-year system that will prioritize projects based on economic impact and net jobs created.
“This is a crown-jewel industry that provides jobs and opportunity for middle-class families in every region of our Golden State,” said Senate President pro tem-elect Kevin de Leon (D) in a statement. “We’re sending a powerful signal today that we are 100 percent committed to keeping the cameras rolling and bright lights shining in our state for years to come.”