The Los Angeles Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to send a letter to Governor Brown supporting efforts to end runaway film production by recognizing “the negative impacts high taxes and excessive regulations have on the entertainment industry.” As stated many times on this site, that phrase could be applied to many industries that look for greener pastures beyond California’s borders.
The supervisors lobbying comes as an Assembly Committee unanimously moved along a bill by members Mike Gatto and Raul Bocanegra to extend the current $100 million film credit for motion pictures filmed in the state. Supporters of the idea would also like to expand the credit to rival breaks offered by other states. New York’s film credit cap is four times higher than California’s.
The film credit has often been criticized as favoring a glamorous business that is doing well and doesn’t need help. Some say that liberals that make up the business who support tax hikes shouldn’t be rewarded with tax breaks for their business.
The film business is more than noted celebrities. All sorts of technicians and laborers see their livelihood threatened by runaway production. However, the celebrity and glamor of the film business may be turned to an advantage in promoting all business in the state.
As anyone who follows the news knows, celebrities are often recruited to promote one cause or another, testify on a bill and bring attention to a concern.
The glitzy industry identified with California could serve the same purpose in getting across the idea that business and jobs can grow if regulations and taxes are eased – just as the Los Angeles Supervisors argued in their letter to the governor.
If reduction of taxes and regulation is good for the home-grown desirable industry, it is good for other businesses as well.
As to the film credit itself, other suggestions have been made beyond raising the cap to encourage film work to remain in the Los Angeles area and the state.
Barbi Appelquist, a candidate for the 26th senate district covering areas west of Los Angeles suggested a number of ideas in a Huffington Post column. (Full disclosure: Appelquist was one of my students at the Pepperdine Graduate School of Public Policy.)
Among her ideas:
- Increase annual tax credit allotment from $100 million to $400 million to meet demand
- Create separate applications and pools for television production and motion picture production
- Open California Film Commission satellite office(s) in San Francisco Bay and San Diego
- Create a minimal post-production credit to incorporate high tech businesses and support
- Increase minimum 10% credit allotment for independent films to 25% to support small businesses that are the backbone of the industry
- Make the state a profit participant in last position up to the value of the credit claimed
California must be creative in keeping a business as identifiable with the state as the redwoods and the Golden Gate. It will be good for all California business and it would be a steady influence on the state’s economy. It could also teach a lesson to the powers that be that to keep business in California we cannot pile on business a cumulative collection of unbearable taxes and regulations.