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New Push In Calif. To Offer More Tax Incentives To Bring Back Runaway TV, Movie Production

PASADENA ( — Businessmen and politicians are urging California to get more aggressive in offering tax incentives to lure movie and television production back to the state.

Former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, now the chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, said 11 of this year's 12 biggest blockbusters were filmed outside of the Golden State.

"The Amazing Spider-Man 2," for example, was shot in New York.

When the sequel to "Man of Steel" is made, the movie will be filmed in Michigan.

"The truth is that since its peak in the late '90s, we've lost almost 60 percent of our feature film business in California and 30 percent of our television business. And the result is we're losing billions of dollars in wages and taxes in the state," said Paul Audley, the president of Film L.A.

The state currently offers $100 million a year in incentives, but state Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) believes that might not be enough.

"I think we're gonna need more than $100 million. Maybe between $100 million and $500 million. We want to make sure we get the most bank for the buck, we get efficiency," he said.

Audley agreed.

"(The tax incentives in California) clearly needs to be a great deal larger and a great deal broader. New York, which has always been California's major competitor, offers $420 million a year in a very broad-based incentive available to all kinds of production," he said.

KCAL9's Dave Bryan reported that in California, the tax incentive does not apply to any movie that costs $75 million or more to produce.

De Leon is working on legislation he hopes to introduce in January that would beef up California's tax incentives. He said it's all about keeping jobs in the state, not lining the pockets of the rich and powerful.

"It's not about these Hollywood moguls or Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks. It's about vendors or caterers. It's about the folks behind the camera. These are good, solid middle class jobs. We gotta keep the middle class intact and we gotta grow it if, in fact, our economy is gonna really move forward," he said.

Meantime, critics claim the incentives do little to keep jobs in California and to bring dollars into the state.


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