Magazine article Variety

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Magazine article Variety

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CALIFORNIA'S FLEE CIRCUS

Readers chimed in on Ted Johnson's cover story about the L.A. mayor's battle to counter the flow of film and TV production jobs out of Hollywood ("Fighting the Flight").

There's only one reason why features and television - and before that, commercials, which began the stampede north to Canada in the late '90s - are fleeing L.A. and it has nothing to do with tax rates in California. Canada started the avalanche of runaway production by offering large government subsidies - paid for by Canadian taxpayers - that allowed U.S. producers to save close to 50% (factoring in the lower value of Canadian currency) over filming costs in this country. - hollywoodjuicer

The problem Hollywood is facing is all too similar to other businesses in America, which are being underbid and undersold abroad, period. When companies can find the work elsewhere for cheaper, they will.... These subsidies aren't genuine market motivations, they're artificial. When those subsidies end, the companies will pack up and move to the next one. If Los Angeles can muster a cohesive plan of action to fight this, then it can be used as a model elsewhere. The legal study on one approach using the WTO and tariffs is a start, unionizing could be another. I for one enjoy my job. I'm okay with the odd 60 hour work week, but what I'm not okay with is not finding a job at all because Canada or the U.K. is offering millions to lure jobs away. - dan

Half of the Big Six studios are in the midst of massive 10- to 20-year multibillion-dollar expansions. The studios aren't leaving, only the productions are. And the reason productions are leaving isn't lower taxes in other states or better labor laws. Fact is, these states have been conned by the MPAA into directly paying for 25% or more of each budget for movies and shows. It's hilarious the other states have been willing to keep paying so much for so long. When the well runs dry, they will return to California and have the new expanded studios to play in. - vfx.privateer

The problem is the incentive scam that no government can truly afford. To compete, California would have to offer 43% in rebates to beat Louisiana and Georgia. Those states will counter with 44%. Then what does California do? Go to 45%? How long does this back and forth go? Until a city/state/nation offers full tax amnesty? Then they all do that. Crews will have to cut rates to compete. - brian dzyak

I am a Teamster, and I feel the squeeze from runaway productions. Wouldn't Sacramento rather promote employment and have people contribute to local business by buying locally and get more tax revenue than pay unemployment, which is far less income-creating, offers less money spent in the community, and creates more of a drag on the unemployment program, as well as local business? It seems like a no-brainer - tax incentives create employment, which creates more tax dollars as well as stimulates local economic growth, - bob cope

Good luck to the mayor. He's going to need it. California has been taxing everything that has a pulse for quite a while now. Why would someone volunteer to give up a big piece of their profits if they didn't have to? It's something California doesn't seem to understand. - ogrepete

The California progressives have gone from, as Ronald Reagan (a former movie industry pro) said, if it moves, tax it, to if it doesn't, subsidize it. …

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