- Parent Category: News
- Category: Location News
- Published on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 16:06
- Written by Rick Orlov, Los Angeles Daily News
Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday declared a state of emergency in the push to keep the film business in Los Angeles.
In a series of interviews, Garcetti said he plans to press the case with Sacramento to provide more in the way of tax incentives to curb runaway production in Los Angeles, a proposal he has been advocating since his campaign for mayor this past year.
“We’ve lost the blockbuster films. They don’t film here any more. Tax credits around the world and around the country have taken them away.” Garcetti said on the “Today” show.
California has had a $100 million per year incentive program to retain productions, but it is dwarfed by states such as New York, which has a $420 million incentive program, and others where production costs are much lower.
Garcetti noted he has talked with Gov. Jerry Brown about the issue to remove limits and reduce red tape, saying they had a positive conversation where he laid out the data on the impact of production and the multiplier effect on other industries.
“And I underscored the importance that this is a signature industry,” he said in a sit-down with Variety, alluding to the fact that movie and TV production is credited with creating 90,000 jobs and some $3 billion in wages.
“It’s the person holding the sound boom, it’s the person painting the sets,” Garcetti said on “Today.”
The issue has been prominent for Garcetti ever since his inaugural address, when he told the masses, “Our state Legislature has to understand — meaningful tax credits for our entertainment industry isn’t some show-biz boondoggle. It means more jobs, more tax revenue, which other cities are tripping over themselves to take away.”
He has since pledged to appoint a film czar before the end of the year to help productions take advantage of the various incentives that are available, as well as work through the city’s many regulations for filming.
Runaway production has been an ongoing problem. In 2003, 68 percent of all productions were based in California. In 2011, that dropped to 59 percent.
Paul Audley, president of the nonprofit Film L.A., said the business is facing an “extraordinarily serious problem when you talk about features and television. I think the mayor’s statement is a call to arms to attract attention on the need to fully focus on runaway production and make the case this is a statewide issue.”
Audley added that he would like the state to at least match the $450 million spent by New York for a sustained period of time, perhaps five years.
“If the state would do that, I think you would see some of these other players shutting down their efforts,” he said.
The California Film Commission has said the state continues to experience an erosion of the industry, with network television dramas and feature films among the most frequent to move elsewhere.
But while the city has taken some steps to reduce or eliminate all municipal fees as an incentive to the industry, Garcetti said it needs to show continued progress.
“I am going to be like a dog with a bone on this and stay with this,” Garcetti said. “I can’t single-handedly move Sacramento, but I think we will do what works to educate our lawmakers.”
Councilman Tom LaBonge, whose district includes many in the entertainment industry, said he wants the city to step up to the plate as well. “I want a report from the Office of Finance on all the tax revenue we get from productions,” he said. “We should put that back to the industry as an incentive. It’s easy for us to go to others to ask for money, but we should have the guts to put up our own money.”
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