California film industries are in for a treat. Assembly Bill 1839, the California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act, was recently approved by the state Senate on Aug. 29. With this bill, a new film and TV tax credit program will be implemented starting in the 2015-16 fiscal year for five years, replacing the current lottery system they use to award credit. However, even if movies do receive leniency on taxes, the production’s income is not addressed.
The film tax credit will now be awarded based on how many jobs are available for each movie production, and can cover up to 20 to 25 percent of the tax placed on production’s income. By increasing the film tax credit from 100 million to 330 million and changing how the credit is allotted from lottery to ranking, lawmakers hope to bring back California’s filmmaking prestige and increase the number of jobs in California’s film industry.
According to Governor Jerry Brown’s website, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff stated that film production in California has dropped nearly 50 percent in the last 15 years, mostly attributed to the recent recession. As a result, many of the jobs related to California’s movie industry, especially those that work off-screen, suffered tremendously from the lack of demand. Paired with the recent recession, large-scale film production in California was stagnant.
Logically, in order to spark an industry to boom again, restrictions should be lessened to jumpstart it. Yes, money does play a large role in production value. Yes, it provides more opportunities for work. However, even if more Californian movies are produced, a movie’s income is determined by its popularity with the general audience. No amount of tax credit a movie receives accounts for its success rate. Low income from a movie still results in underpaid workers, something tax credit cannot fix.
Having more money to be potentially allotted can spark job availability. However, even tax credit cannot guarantee the return of California’s movie prestige.