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Location Hollywood-Style

States are vying to woo film entertainment production away from international markets- as well as from Hollywood.

Richard J. Maturi (April/May 06)
(page 3 of 3)
California is under the gun to compete with huge stakes. According to a Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. report - What Is the Cost of Run-Away Production? - motion picture production sustains employment for 245,000 people with earnings of $17.2 billion in California. A big-budget feature film generates $70 million in production spending, nearly $200 million in economic output, 1,300 movie industry jobs, and state taxes in excess of $10 million.

Despite backing by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hollywood labor unions, and key Democrats, Assembly Bill 777 - designed to attract production back to California with a 12 percent refundable credit against income or sales tax - met with stiff opposition. As a result, action was tabled until 2006.

According to the Entertainment Industry Development Corp., the number of feature film on-location days in Los Angeles dropped from nearly 14,000 in 1996 to slightly more than 8,700 in 2004. On October 20, 2005, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced, "We cannot stand idly by while other states enact incentives to lure jobs away from California."

Even less populous states are taking action. The Wyoming Film Office is helping craft a bill with up to 15 percent rebate for qualified film production expenditures in Wyoming.

"We are exploring several incentive programs that would work within our tax structure, constitution, and labor force expertise while offering production companies competitive savings," says Michelle Howard, manager of the Wyoming Business Council Film, Arts & Entertainment Office. "The recent loss of two films with Wyoming storylines to production in Canada prompted this initiative."

To be sure, the incentives game will continue to evolve as localities, states, and countries seek to persuade production companies to yell, "Lights, camera, action" at their locations.
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