Lobbying AB 1069
Local 695 recently dispatched a delegation to Sacramento to join with delegations from other entertainment industry locals and lobby on behalf of Assembly Bill 1069. Sponsored by Felipe Fuentes (D, 39th District), AB 1069 offers tax credits for productions shot in California. The program provides credits for below-the-line payroll expenditures and only after principal photography has wrapped and the payroll expenses can be verified. Moreover, according to a press release from Assemblyman Fuentes, “The program specifically targets productions that are the most likely to leave the state due to incentives being offered in other states and countries.”
A similar program, enacted in 2009, was scheduled to expire. While not so generous as the incentives offered by some states, the program has nevertheless made a difference. Estimates are that it has resulted in $2.2 billion in production spending in California so far with $728 million going to below-the-line cast and crew. The program has been oversubscribed every year it has been offered so there is a real interest by producers. Since so many entertainment professionals live in California, an enticement doesn’t necessarily need to fully match offers from other states to be attractive.
From all reports, the effort was persuasive. Two of the Senators on our list, Ron Calderon (D, 30th District) and Tom Harmon (R, 35th District), took the time to meet with us personally, listen to arguments and ask questions.
AB 1069 was passed by the legislature without any triggers or other dilutions and signed into law by Governor Brown on October 9. Thom Davis credits the success to “all of us working together, and the continued support from Maria Elena Durazo of the LA County Federation of Labor, and Art Pulaski of the California Labor Federation.” But, the struggle is not over. Although originally written as a five-year tax credit extension, the amended bill extends these credits only one year. We need, as VP Davis reminds us, to continue our efforts to make the “program extend out multiple years so it can truly meet its potential of protecting our members’ jobs.”