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Tax breaks to keep L.A. film production?

October 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The local economy has taken a hit as a result of runway film production that's hurt the entertainment capital. But an L.A. city lawmaker believes there's a solution: benefits and tax breaks that will bring TV shows and movies back to Southern California.Los Angeles is known as the film capital of the world, but some production companies some see L.A. as a tough place to do business.

"We're basically under attack by many jurisdictions have specific strategic plans to take filming away from us, and that has a dramatic effect on our tax base, on our jobs, on our quality of life," said L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon.

Alarcon is trying to figure out how to make it easier to keep TV and film production in Southern California.

Economist Jack Kyser figures 6,000 local filming jobs will be lost this year due to runaway production.

"They're focusing on the cost of the production, so when you have incentives like 30 percent in Michigan, that's very, very attractive," said Kyser, L.A. Economic Development Corp.

Kyser says with each industry job that leaves, several others disappear as well.

Alarcon says for production companies, it's small things, simple things like a shortage of parking spaces, and fees that add up and eventually cost a lot of money. He's proposing possibly tax credits to businesses that allow filming on their properties.

"For example: businesses who are charging for their buildings being in the background. Are they charging reasonable rates? Can we negotiate with business and building owners to see if they're willing to lower their rates. Can we give them some tax credits if they're willing to forego those circumstances," said Alarcon.

"If you had DWP put in power nodes at key filming locations, the studios wouldn't have to rent generators, you wouldn't have the residents complaining about the noise, if you identified parking for them -- that would be helpful. So it's a lot of non-monetary things that you would have to do to make things a little bit easier for them," said Kyser.

Alarcon says filming around the Hollywood sign costs about $10,000 a day. That's an example of the high fees that are driving production companies out of Southern California. That's why Alarcon will present his proposal to the full Los Angeles City Council Wednesday.

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