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California Incentive Program Needs Major Overhaul to Save Production Jobs

Hollywood SMThe Milken Institute has called for a major overhaul of California’s film incentive program in a study released Thursday that recommends the state open the program to bigger-budget fare and add incentives for vfx work and investments in digital infrastructure.

The report from Milken Institute’s California Center shows that the Golden State lost more than 16,000 high-paying film production jobs between 2004 and 2012 — a more than 10% drop at a time when the state’s primary rival, New York, added 10,000 jobs thanks to its aggressive courting of film and TV biz with generous incentives. The report notes that film production jobs are the worst kind of middle-class income losses for the state with the average annual salary running about $95,000.

The report was issued two weeks after legislation was introduced in California to improve the Golden State’s five-year-old tax credit incentive program,  currently limited to $100 million in total tax credits annually.

“California should ensure enough incentives to balance out its higher costs and the increasing aggressiveness of other states without sacrificing its future,” the Milken study concluded.

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