Hollywood Seeks to Be Film King Again With Expanded Tax Breaks
Frustrated at losing movie and television production to other states with rich tax breaks, California is looking to expand its own incentives to keep its flagship industry at home.
Lawmakers are considering four bills—and more could be coming—that push against the limits of California’s 10-year-old film and television tax credit program and stay competitive with more generous breaks in states including Georgia, which has overtaken California as the top movie-production state, and New Mexico, which used incentives to land a Netflix Inc. production hub.
More than 30 other states use tax breaks to poach productions, with Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, and West Virginia weighing bills this year to renew or expand their programs.
Entertainment studios, hit hard by production shutdowns and closed movie theaters during the Covid-19 pandemic, are poised to benefit from the proposals as they race to meet demand for content on streaming services like Disney+, HBOMax, Netflix, Paramount+, and Peacock. They’re part of the discussions but aren’t weighing in publicly yet on the bills.
“Do you want studios to continue to do well but expand in places other than California?” said Thomas Davis, president of the California Council of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and business manager for IATSE Local 80. “More studios in Atlanta doesn’t help people in California.”
More tax incentives would be welcome news for studios leaning heavily into streaming, Bloomberg Intelligence Senior Industry Analyst Geetha Ranganathan said.
“This could certainly spur more local investment especially as traditional studios face intense competition from the likes of Netflix and Amazon,” she said.
By: Laura Mahoney