When most of us think of audio-visual excitement, our eyes and ears instinctively turn to the west.
Hollywood and, by association, California, has always been the home of movies and television. The modern entertainment industry was born there and we have Hollywood studios to thank for some of the most beloved moments in American cultural history.
But Tinseltown has lost some of its shine in recent years. A mixture of piracy playing on the minds of creators and waning domestic interest in the standard summer . And while a lot of the studio’s focus has been on the need to compete in emerging foreign markets like China and India, an issue closer to home has been the flight of production to other areas of the U.S.
Tax credits have been luring creators away from L.A. and California for many years, having become an attractive way for other states to compete with their more star-studded competitor. As we discussed earlier this year, everywhere from New Mexico (‘Breaking Bad’) to Maryland (‘House of Cards’) has experienced the uplift that the silver screen – and its smaller home brethren – can bring with them, providing enough tax incentives are placed on the table to sweeten the deal.
Coinciding with a turbulent time for California’s own tax system and the state’s financial position following a rough economic run, the picture for West coast entertainment has been much more fuzzy.
That seems set to change, as the state’s Goveror Jerry Brown finally signed off on a bumper set of California tax credits aimed at helping Hollywood bounce back from its lull.
The package provides around $330 million in tax incentives for producers to stay in state, with the whole package stretching to a substantial $1.65 billion over the next five years. That’s no chump change for a state facing a long-term debt of several hundred billion dollars, which constantly weigh on the minds of state legislators whenever a big budget decision comes along.
What the deal demonstrates is just how valuable the entertainment industry is to its home state, not to mention the country as a whole. Even that $1 trillion creative economy figure pales in comparison to the intangible value of the silver screen. People turn to television and theaters even at the most turbulent economic times for a form of release and inspiration.
It seems fitting that California, for all its natural beauty and technological innovation, still feels the same bewitching effect of Hollywood, even after all these years.