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Governor Signs Film and Television Tax Credit Bill; Action on Historic Preservation and New Markets Tax Credit Bills Pending

September 22, 2014
Last Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a historic bill by Assembly Members Mike Gatto and Raul Bocanegra, both of Los Angeles, which will encourage more film and television production throughout California.
AB 1839 provides targeted support to the state’s dynamic film industry by extending the California Film and Television Tax Credit Program by five years, lifting the per-film budget limitation on the tax credit so that larger films can qualify, and offering additional incentives for specified film and television production activities.

In a press statement, League President and Arroyo Grande Mayor Tony Ferrera voiced support for the Governor’s decision to sign AB 1839, stating “economic development is a key priority for California cities and the League appreciates the Governor and Legislature’s commitment to ensuring that one of the state’s cornerstone industries remains strong here. Local economies benefit when television and film production locate in our communities, create jobs and support local businesses.”
Two League-Supported Tax Credit Bills Remain Pending
Two other tax credit bills supported by the League landed on the Governor’s desk this year. These bills, AB 1399 (Medina) and AB 1999 (Atkins), will be helpful to local communities in attracting private investment in city downtowns. The League encourages city officials to send signature request letters to the Governor before the looming Sept. 30 bill signing deadline. Short summaries of both bills, along with links to sample signature request letters for cities to use, are provided below. 
AB 1399 (Medina): California New Markets Tax Credit
AB 1399 will creates a $200 million California New Markets Tax Credit program, to attract private capital and federal matching funds to spur investment and create jobs in low-income communities throughout California. According to the bill’s author, the $200 million investment will provide lower income communities with access to over $500 million in capital.
The New Markets Tax Credit model is a proven economic development tool in the fourteen states that have created statewide programs. The bill incorporates strict guidelines on the nature of investments that may be made to those that demonstrate a positive revenue impact on the state, using nationally recognized assessment models.
AB 1999 (Atkins): Tax Credits: historic structure preservation 
AB 1999 would allow taxpayers to receive a tax credit for qualified expenses for the rehabilitation of certified historic structures. Specifically, the bill will assist in local downtown revitalization efforts by expanding incentives to renovate historic buildings by layering up to a 25 percent state credit on top of existing 20 percent federal tax credit.
The League believes this measure balances efforts to preserve historic structures and renovate older downtowns with appropriate assurances to maximize state spending. The tax credits provided by AB 1999 will incentivize the restoration of buildings that may have been neglected due to the recent economic recession and are in need of repair. Restoring these buildings will create local construction industry jobs and increase local revenues by adding property value as well as provide for restoration of buildings that include affordable housing and transit-oriented development.

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