Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vowed Oct. 20 to keep film and television production in the city by waiving fees and offering a tax incentive.


LOS ANGELES (The Hollywood Reporter) -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vowed Oct. 20 to keep film and television production in the city by waiving fees and offering a tax incentive.

Villaraigosa immediately moved to lift all fees for filming at the downtown City Hall and regional city halls in Van Nuys, South Los Angeles, West Los Angeles and San Pedro.

The mayor hopes to eliminate production fees for all city-owned properties as well as fund an incentive similar to one offered by New York City.

"This is the creative and entertainment capital of the world, and you're going to see a very aggressive effort on our part to promote it and also to provide incentives around keeping production here in Los Angeles," Villaraigosa said at a weekly press briefing.

No dollar figure was attached to the incentive, nor was there a discussion of the timetable.

The loss of production fees was described as negligible, especially given the financial benefit that productions bring to the area. A feature film generates $150,000-$200,000 in economic impact each day, while a television series sustains about 180 jobs.

"The film industry is pivotal to the city's economy," Villaraigosa said. "We need to keep these jobs here so our economy can prosper."

In discussing the proposed incentive, Villaraigosa alluded to New York's 5% tax credit and the generous breaks that states such as New York, New Mexico and Louisiana are offering in a bid to attract production dollars.

New York City's incentive provides tax credits of up to $12.5 million per calendar year for below-the-line costs. It is intended to complement New York state's 10% production tax credit.

Villaraigosa also reaffirmed his support for a California bill that would have provided a 12% refundable credit. That incentive, worth as much as $100 million, was unable to generate sufficient support in Sacramento, leading its sponsors and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to withdraw it in September in favor of another try early next year.

Film, TV and commercial production contributes more than $25 billion to the Los Angeles area economy each year, according to the mayor's office.

"[Villaraigosa's] commitment to help create jobs in Southern California and keep California competitive by providing opportunities for the movie industry that rival those of other regions around the world is commendable," Motion Picture Assn. of America chairman/CEO Dan Glickman said.