Legislation to extend California’s successful Film and Television Tax Credit Program passed the Assembly Floor on Monday afternoon. The measure, which was incorporated into the 2018-2019 Budget through Senate Bill 871, extends the program to 2025 and makes several key improvements to ensure wider program applicability and keep pace with the changing industry landscape. Prior to the program’s inclusion into the Budget, Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) co-authored AB 1734 to extend the program, with Assemblymembers Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) and Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego).
“Today, we voted to extend one of California’s most successful tax-incentive programs,” said Assemblymember Bloom. “California has been the capital of the entertainment industry since its inception. It is an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people, including many of my constituents, and supports small businesses throughout the state. SB 871 helps us stay competitive and will help keep Hollywood in California, where it was born.”
Prior to the overhauling of the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program by the Legislature in 2014, the film industry had been moving out of California for years, drawn by financial incentives being offered by other states and countries. At one point feature films production in California declined by 30 percent and 1-hour basic cable production market share dropped by 48 percent. Since the film and television industry peaked in the late 1990s, California has lost 90,000 middle class jobs and $3 billion in wages, deeply impacting many small businesses that rely on a healthy local entertainment industry.
Recognizing the economic impact that this changing landscape was having on California’s economy, the Legislature passed AB 1839 in 2014 to overhaul the existing Film and Television Tax Credit Program. That bill more than tripled the size of the existing program from $100 million to $330 million, allowed larger feature films to receive credits, increased the incentives to television shows, and allowed credits for music scoring and editing.
SB 871 enacts what is known as the “Film and TV Tax Credit 3.0”. In addition to continuing to allocate $330 million in available tax credits, the measure also implements new provisions around workforce training, sexual harassment, and diversity. Under the measure, applicants will be required to include their written policies against unlawful harassment as well as information about their programs to increase the representation of minorities and women in key positions. The California Film Commission will also be required to make public diversity-related information and data. The measure also pilots the Career Pathways Training program, which will create opportunities for individuals from underserved communities to gain employment in the film and television industry.
The bill now heads to the Governor for signature.