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SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) led an informational hearing in the Legislature regarding the Governor’s budget proposal to extend the Film & TV Tax Credit Program (Program) for an additional five years, from July 2025 to June 2030, with an annual allocation of $330 million. As Chair of Assembly Budget Sub Committee #4, she and members of the committee heard from key government, industry, academic, and labor stakeholders on the proposal. The discussion ranged from tax credit reductions for production companies that fail to meet their diversity goals, weighing the costs and benefits of making the credit refundable to capture a broader range of productions, to safety standards in the entertainment industry. Investing in our workforce to create, retain, and bring back below- and above-the-line entertainment jobs to our state is a priority for Assemblywoman Carrillo, as is making diversity an ongoing focus as we work to ensure that public dollars are reflective of the people of California.
“The California Film & TV Tax Credit Program has been incredibly successful as an economic driver for the state and I am committed to seeing it extended,” said Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo. “The purpose of the hearing was to examine the Governor’s proposal, to better understand the benefits of making the tax credit refundable while limiting the downsides and the obligations it imposes on the industry to accomplish our goals of equity and diversity. I look forward to working with all interested parties to ensure the program continues to be a thriving economic engine for our state and invests in opportunities for more Californians to work, write, create, produce, direct and star in story narratives that are as diverse as the people of California.”
Since 2009, the Film & TV Tax Credit Program (Program) has undergone three iterations (1.0, 2.0 and 3.0), which have sought to ensure California remains a national and global leader in the film and television production industry. The recent Program 3.0, established in 2018, is $1.55 billion, which runs for five years and will sunset on June 30, 2025. As of February 28, 2022, the programs have approved 604 projects, resulted in 164,000 casts and crew hiring, and generated $19.8 billion in production spending within California, despite just $2.5 billion in tax credit incentives from the state, according to the California Film Commission where Assemblywoman Carrillo also serves as a newly appointed member.
As a leading voice in the legislature on California’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program, Assemblywoman Carrillo has also been a champion for diversity in this space. In 2021, she authored legislation with others to secure $150 million in film tax credits for productions filmed at new or renovated soundstages. As part of that effort, Assemblywoman Carrillo secured a requirement for productions to develop work plans that include diversity goals broadly reflective of California’s population in terms of race and gender. The following year, Assemblywoman Carrillo also secured a $1.25 million state investment for the UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report, a key initiative, which enables research done by the UCLA Division of Social Sciences to examine the relationship between diversity and inclusion in Hollywood. Her advocacy efforts in this space align with those of Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), the former Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, who testified before the committee today as an ardent advocate for establishing workforce diversity goals in the entertainment industry nationwide.
“Over the last several years, Assemblywoman Carrillo and other California leaders have taken important steps to ensure that California’s Film & TV Tax Credit program is creating opportunity for industry professionals from historically underrepresented backgrounds,” said Congressman Joaquin Castro. “The American media industry – and Hollywood in particular – is our nation’s predominant image-defining and narrative-creating institution, and it has a fundamental responsibility to tell full stories about our diverse communities. I applaud Assemblywoman Carrillo and her colleagues for their continued focus on diversity and inclusion across film and all sectors of the economy."
Last year, legislative efforts to extend the Program stalled in the Assembly, where Assemblywoman Carrillo continued to advocate for diversity incentives in any program extension. This year, Governor Newsom aims to extend the Program as one of his budget priorities, thereby creating version 4.0. Unlike previous versions of the film tax credit, Program 4.0 proposes to make the tax credit refundable, allowing production companies with insufficient tax liability to utilize the credit, similar to other states like Arizona, Maryland, Nevada and New York. It also contains diversity requirements similar to those for productions filmed at new or renovated soundstages. The difference to the soundstage requirement in Program 3.0, which provides an additional 4% credit to productions that meet or make a good-faith effort to meet their diversity goals, is that Program 4.0 subtracts 4% from the baseline credit for those failing to do so. Additionally, the requirements do not apply to independent films with qualified expenditures of less than $10 million.
“Diversifying the workforce means bringing equity to California’s most famous and influential industry. People of color, specifically Latinos, make up California’s minority-majority population, yet only a dismal percentage in the entertainment industry. Therefore it is critical to ensure the requirements around diversity are not only designed to help the entertainment industry address disparities in representation, but they will in fact result in real change so communities of interest are not subsidizing their own erasure,” concluded Assemblywoman Carrillo.
Assemblywoman Carrillo was elected to serve in the State Assembly in December 2017. She represents the 52nd Assembly District, which includes the City of Los Angeles and South Glendale. She serves as the Chair of the Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration, in addition to the Assembly Committees on Appropriations, Health, Housing and Community Development, Utilities and Energy, Budget Subcommittee No. 6 on Budget Process, Oversight and Program Evaluation, and the Joint Committees on Legislative Budget, and Climate Change Policies. She also serves as the Chair of the Select Committee on Latina Inequities, Vice Chair of the Legislative Progressive Caucus, as a Commissioner for the California Film Commission and serves on the California Cultural and Historical Endowment Board.