Calif. Gov. Brown Urged To Expand Tax Credits For Movie Industry

The state Assembly passed a bill to offer tax incentives to film and TV production companies. Big city mayors signed a letter in support, but it's not clear Gov. Jerry Brown will sign on.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

California may be home to Hollywood, but there are growing concerns here about the declining number of films being made in local studios. So yesterday, mayors from all of the state's major cities backed a bill to expand California's tax credit program for TV and film producers.

NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: Mayors from Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and seven other cities urged Gov. Jerry Brown to offer tax credits to a wider range of film and TV productions. Currently, the state only offers tax breaks to productions with budgets under $75 million. As a result, in 2012, only one major Hollywood movie was shot entirely in California.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE TRAILER, "STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: Darkness is coming.

DEL BARCO: Besides "Star Trek Into Darkness," the only other major movie that qualified for California tax incentives was "Hangover III," according to the California Film Commission. Economist Kevin Klowden, of the Milken Institute think tank, says California is having to compete internationally to keep production jobs.

KEVIN KLOWDEN: Domestically, you have states like New York, Louisiana and Georgia who've all been really aggressive trying to get productions to come to their states and leave California.

One study by the Southern California Association of Governments showed that last year, the state's tax credits supported more than 22,000 jobs. But other studies point out these jobs are short term, and tax credits are a bad deal for local governments. So far, Gov. Jerry Brown has not said whether he will support the legislation.

Mandalit del Barco, NPR News.

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