Report says California’s film production incentives yield increases in jobs, shows – Orange County Register

The California Film Commission has released its annual report on how effective the state’s tax credit program has been at keeping film and television production in the state.

It’s been quite effective, according to the CFC’s executive director, Amy Lemisch, whose office administers the program.

“I’m extremely pleased with the way it’s going,” Lemisch said. “We’ve seen increases in employment. We’re hearing from all the different soundstage facilities about how busy they are. I hear from crew people all the time. So we’re definitely seeing the results of an increase in production, which was exactly what the program was intended to do, and it seems to be working.”

The new report is the first to include data from a full fiscal year (July 2016 through June 2017) of funding at $330 million in available tax credits. That’s actually the second year of the improved program, dubbed 2.0. The previous, first year of 2.0 only had $230 million to offer; the other $100 million went to fund the seventh and final year of the $100 million per annum 1.0 program, which the more generous, reliable and better-targeted 2.0 replaced in 2015.

Fiscal year 2015-16 wound up allocating $173 million of its $230 million in credits to 47 film and TV projects that shot primarily or entirely in California, and which generated a total statewide expenditure estimated at $1.3 billion. The fully funded second year, which was also able to access the $57 million not used in year one, allocated $339 million to 64 projects that are expected to spend $2.4 billion in California. The 1.0 approach generated $5.35 billion in spending over its seven-year span, while doling out around $667 million in tax credits.

Data show $1.4 billion of that $3.7 billion productions spent in the first two years of the newer plan went to below-the-line wages. Below-the-line-jobs are, basically, any on a set that aren’t acting, directing, writing or producing; expenditures on those above-the-line payments don’t qualify for the state’s tax incentives, but pretty much all other payroll jobs do.

The past two years have seen a sustained 12 percent rise in hours worked by below-the-line crews in California over 2014, the final full year of the 1.0 program.

Beside more than tripling the yearly amount of tax credits over the 1.0 program, 2.0 replaced an unpredictable lottery system for a more effective jobs ratio formula for productions to qualify for incentives. Dedicated “buckets”…

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