Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has requested an expansion of entertainment tax credits from the state and appointed a new chief advisor on film and TV production. Entertainment lawyer Ken Ziffren, who takes up the advisor position following the death of Tom Sherak, will seek to increase local production through expanded state incentives.
“Stopping runaway production is about protecting our middle class,” said Garcetti. “Ken will be a powerful leader in our fight against other states that are taking our jobs, and he will be aggressive about streamlining government so red tape doesn’t contribute to driving production away.”
According to the Mayor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Production, which Garcetti established last year following his election, only one out of 45 “big budget” feature films was shot exclusively in California over 2012-2013, representing a loss of thousands of jobs to other states. From 2005 to 2013, California’s share of the 1-hour TV series market declined from 64% to 28%.
“This is a critical moment for our industry and our economy,” Ziffren said. “If we don’t fight back now, these jobs are going to be lost for good, and that would be a devastating blow to our middle class. This is about jobs for carpenters, electricians, makeup artists — good jobs that leave enough over at the end of the month to save for retirement, save for the kids’ college, and to spend in our neighborhoods.” Ziffren brings extensive entertainment industry experience to the new position, having played a key role in resolving a Writer’s Guild strike and represented the NFL in negotiating network TV contracts.
Bloomberg Businessweek also reports that Garcetti has lobbied Governor Jerry Brown and state legislators to double the current tax credit’s $100 million cap and expand it to include commercials, pay-TV programs and movies with budgets over $75 million.