In recent years actors and others in the the entertainment industry in California have seen countless great jobs move to states like Louisiana and Georgia, where lucrative tax breaks have made doing business much more cost effective. Many industry professionals who moved to California in order to find work either found themselves with less work or having to travel across the country to work for “runaway productions.” Many in the industry — particularly working class talent — appealed to California politicians to create additional financial incentives to keep entertainment production “home” in Hollywood.
After several months of negotiations, last week California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act, which will increase tax incentives for California productions from $100 million a year to $330 million. The signing ceremony took place in the courtyard of Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre with many politicians, including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Hollywood icon Warren Beatty, who is currently working on his first film in over a decade in California. Beatty joked that he was disappointed to hear California Senator Kevin de Leon remark that the funds would be primarily used to pay for production fees, not star salaries.
Mayor Garcetti took a nearly antagonistic stance against the decade-long trend of an increasing number of productions filming outside California. During the ceremony he said, “They call the problem ‘runaway production.’ But let’s be clear — production and production jobs aren’t running away from California. They are being lured away by big financial incentives from other states. Today, we fight back.”
Adding to the praise, the California Film & Television Production Alliance released a statement that said, “Today is a day that we have worked toward for over a year. We represent small businesses, film commissions, local government officials, and most importantly, thousands of working men and women across the state who dedicated months of their lives to writing letters, attending rallies and meetings, testifying, signing petitions, and traveling to Sacramento — all with the goal of making AB 1839, the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act, a reality.”