LOS ANGELES -- With the March 7 election rapidly approaching and Angelenos already returning their vote by mail ballots, Mayor Eric Garcetti joined entertainment industry workers at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood today to highlight how his leadership to triple California's film tax credit helped make 2016 a record year for filming in Los Angeles.
"If you grew up in Detroit, someone on your block worked for an auto company or was employed where autoworkers spent their paychecks. Here in L.A., the same goes for our entertainment industry. It's the bedrock of our middle class, putting truck drivers, electricians, makeup artists, carpenters and caterers to work. That's who this is all about," Mayor Garcetti said. "Leading the fight to triple our state film tax credit is bringing 50,000 jobs and $1.7 billion in production back home, and is a key part to our jobs strategy that has outpaced the nation in job growth and cut our unemployment rate in half."
Garcetti spoke at a Raleigh Studios sound stage used by "Major Crimes," which benefits from the tax credit. The show's Co-Executive Producer James Duff said: "Keeping production here is not just about keeping 60,000 good jobs here; it's about keeping the L.A. dream here. Having a Mayor who understands this makes all the difference. I can tell you as a fact, my show would not be on the air if it weren't for the tax credit." Duff noted Major Crimes employs 250 people, most of whom are middle class workers.
Mark Rosenthal, President and CEO of Raleigh Studios said: "I've looked at production incentives for a long time, and it really took the Mayor's leadership in 2014 along with the late Tom Sherak to galvanize the state of California because what the state didn't understand was, if it wished to compete around the world and keep high-paying blue collar production jobs in California, the state had to do something to compete. With Eric's leadership, they were able to pass an incentive program that starting in 2015 made a huge difference to not only us as a facility owner but to everyone who works on this lot."
Ed Brown, Business Agent for IATSE Local 44, which represents 6,000 prop makers, upholsterers, set decorators and other Affiliated Property Craftpersons spoke about productions being moved out of state before the new tax credit program. "Families were separated, children went to bed at night without seeing their mom or dad, and money that was spent on payroll was spent out of state," he said. "Now, we spend that payroll in the City of Los Angeles," adding that his colleagues are experiencing "record levels of employment."
"I've been working out of town for seven years, and it caused the split up of my family," said production designer Gary Frutkoff. "I'm now happy to be working back in L.A. Our show wouldn't be as good anywhere else." Frutkoff works for "This Is Us," which benefits from the tax credit.
Devendra Cleary is a Production Sound Mixer for "Secrets and Lies," which moved from North Carolina to Los Angeles because of the tax credit. "These are middle class jobs, and that's the backbone of any city," he said. Speaking about the time before the tax credit program was launched in 2014, he said "Anybody working in TV was feeling the exodus from Los Angeles."
Today, the tax credit drives half of all TV dramas that shoot in California (32), generating an estimated $1.5 billion in annual production spending. Twenty-eight projects have received the tax credit so far, amounting to $880 million in direct in-state spending, including $326 million in wages for below-the-line crew members.
In addition to his leadership in competing against other states and countries who were luring our entertainment jobs away, Mayor Garcetti issued an Executive Directive ordering all General Managers, heads of departments, and commissions of City government to designate a film liaison to cooperate with Film LA, the official film office of the City of Los Angeles. Additionally, he directed the city to develop and update (semiannually) a comprehensive list of City-owned properties that could accommodate production shoots or basecamps.
Mayor Garcetti created the City's first Entertainment Industry and Production Office, and appointed a "film czar." First held by the late Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Tom Sherak, the post is currently held by the noted entertainment attorney Ken Ziffren.
During his first term, Mayor Garcetti led an increase of Los Angeles' minimum wage, which will help lift 600,000 Angelenos from poverty. He focused on a bedrock of L.A.'s middle class and led a hard won battle to enact state legislation to bring 50,000 entertainment industry jobs home. He led an across-the-board cut of L.A.'s business tax. On his watch, L.A.'s unemployment rate has been cut in half, the city has more jobs than at any time since the unrest of 1992, and 2016 was a record year in terms of Port of L.A. cargo, LAX travelers and tourism. He led the years-long, countywide effort that culminated in the passage of Measure M by more than 71%, which will ease congestion, create a comprehensive transit system and create 465,000 jobs. He also helped lead the passage of Measure HHH, which will build 10,000 units of housing for the homeless.