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Antonovich pushes reforms to stop entertainment industry flight

Posted: March 20, 2014 9:08 a.m.
Updated: March 20, 2014 9:08 a.m.

Feature filming in Southern California has dropped 50% from its peak in 1996 -- and television documentaries are down 39% from their peak in 2008. In addition, the region has lost more than $3 billion dollars in entertainment production wages and the employment rate in the entertainment industry has dropped from 152,525 to 136,380 over the last decade.

“In 1997, every big-budget film but one was filmed, at least partially, in Los Angeles County; but in 2013, only two movies with production budgets higher than $100 million were filmed here,” said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich who has authored a motion to push reforms to make California competitive with other states that have successfully lured away film and television production.

“The loss of film and television production in Los Angeles County due to the state’s failure to enact reforms is a devastating blow to our local economy and jobs,” he added, noting that the recent departure of “The Tonight Show” from Burbank to New York City resulted in the direct loss of 150 jobs – and a severe blow to those employed in ancillary industries including electricians, carpenters, caterers and countless employees that support production. “The state needs to aggressively pursue legislation that will provide greater incentives similar to Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina -- even New York, who are successfully poaching production away from California by offering generous economic benefits.”

Georgia offers a 20% tax credit that led to a 300% increase in its share of top-grossing movies. The tax incentive program in Massachusetts propelled it from 18th place in film-production to 11th place in only five years. Louisiana’s tax incentive program added 6,145 jobs in film production between 2010 and 2012 and quadrupled its share of top grossing movies.

Supervisor Antonovich’s motion directs the Executive Officer to send a five-signature letter to the Governor and members of the State Legislature asking that they recognize the negative impacts high taxes and excessive regulations have on the entertainment industry and provide economic incentives that other states are implementing that is resulting in the loss of jobs. The Board of Supervisors will address the motion at its next meeting on Tuesday, March 25, 2014.

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