The study of employment and production data released on
Thursday by the Milken Institute, an economic think tank, says
California has lost tens of thousands of entertainment jobs to
New York and other U.S. states in the past decade, and film and
television productions with them.
While it may be one of the best years for high-quality film in
recent memory, with nine strong films nominated for the best
picture Oscar, just one of the nine was filmed in California.
Ken Ziffren, a veteran California attorney recently appointed as
Hollywood's film czar by the mayor of Los Angeles, said the
report showed Hollywood was in a "bad spiral," both in terms of
jobs and productions leaving California.
Ziffren repeated a call for an expanded California film and tax
credit, as did the Milken report - an issue that is politically
Proponents say it is vital to keep middle-class jobs and film
production in the state. Opponents say wealthy Hollywood studios
don't need another tax break and question whether further
financial incentives will produce a net gain in jobs and
The report by the Milken Institute, headquartered in Santa
Monica, California, but with a national and international
perspective, said California lost 16,137 film and TV industry
jobs between 2004 and 2012, based on U.S. Labor Department
During the same period, the report said, New York state gained
10,675 entertainment jobs.
"California is losing film and television productions to New
York and other states," the report said. "The data shows that
other states are being more effective in using their incentives
to bring in new productions and create jobs."
The report said the loss of jobs was particularly troublesome
because it represented the exodus of middle-class wage earners
with high pay, an average of $98,500 per person, and businesses
that thrive on the movie industry such as caterers.
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BATTLE OF THE TAX CREDITS
California has a tax-credit program, but essentially only
productions with budgets of $75 million or less qualify for the
rebate of 20 percent to 25 percent.
Proponents of legislation under consideration in California want the
incentives to cover big-budget movies, as well as television pilots
New York offers tax credits of between 30 percent and 35 percent and
allocates more money - $420 million annually - out of its budget to
give incentives to film and television production there, roughly
four times what is awarded in California.
Other states such as Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico have also drawn
jobs and production from California in recent years through tax
The Milken report says that production in California hit its peak in
2004, when 128 films were made there, while 50 were filmed in New
York. In 2012, other states offering incentives were involved in 142
films, compared with 104 in California.
Of the nine movies nominated for best picture Oscar on Sunday, only
"Her," the science fiction romantic drama starring Joaquin Phoenix
and Scarlett Johansson, was made in California. It had a relatively
low budget of $25 million.
(Editing by Mary Milliken and Jan
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