Hollywood rallies for lower taxes… on Hollywood

Breanna Deutsch | Contributor

Hollywood has finally realized that taxes hurt businesses and kill jobs.

Members of the Hollywood film community and small business owners organized a joint rally on Saturday in Sunland, California in an effort to pressure state lawmakers to give the entertainment industry a tax break.

The two parties formed a coalition after many film production-related jobs moved to more business-friendly states, leaving America’s entertainment Mecca looking for work.

“From 2004-2011, California has lost tens of thousands of good paying jobs to other states.  These job losses, and their ripple effect on the California economy, could be stopped if AB 1389 is passed.  It’s time to bring production back to California,” said California Democratic Assembly member Raul Bocanegra, who is coauthoring legislation aimed at creating new incentives for film jobs to stay in California.

Bocanegra explained in a press release that Hollywood is a vital contributor to California’s economy.

“This industry creates hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in economic activity each year.  The multiplier effect when filming takes place here, from caterers to costumes to prop houses, helps to employ tens of thousands of small businesses throughout the state,” he said.

As The Daily Caller News Foundation reported in February, from 2005 to 2013, California’s share of the one-hour TV series market declined from 64 percent to 28 percent, resulting in the loss of an estimated 8,500 jobs.

And in the past 15 years, feature-film production in Los Angeles alone has declined almost 60 percent.

While many of the once alive and active Hollywood studios have become vacant, film production in states with generous tax credits has been booming.

Louisiana is just one example of this phenomenon. The year before it enacted its tax credit (2002), production spending in Louisiana was only $3.5 million. By 2010, that figure had jumped to $674 million, making for a 19,000-percent increase.

Georgia, Texas, and New York, among others, have also lured film production to their cities by establishing expansive tax credits.

Recognizing the dramatic impact California’s onerous operating costs have had on the industry, parties typically associated with encouraging tax increases are now petitioning for California to demand less of the entertainment sector and become more competitive.

Warner Bros, FilmLA, the city and county of Los Angeles and the national labor union representing working actors are just a few of the traditionally left-wing entities that have formally voiced their support of lowering taxes on film makers.

Many businesses and organizations that are not even directly involved with production have been touched by the decline in the industry.

Ray Bidenost, principal of Chef Robért Catering, also has serious concerns about the outflow of capital and jobs.

“In this slow-growth economy, the state of California cannot afford to stand by while literally billions of dollars flow to other regions of the country, or overseas,” he said in a statement.

Bidenost added that lawmakers needed to make California more competitive to ensure that “the movie and TV industry, which is an integral part of the California economy, returns and flourishes here — so that we can continue to provide good-paying jobs for thousands of Californians and their families.”

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