An analysis by Entertainment Partners, the largest payroll provider in Hollywood, shows the entertainment industry shed 90,000 jobs between 2004 and 2011. That translates into some $3 billion in lost wages, according to the findings.
But the company noted that after the creation of the California Film & Television Tax Credit Program three years ago, the hemorrhaging stopped and the job losses leveled off by 2011. For supporters, that finding provides additional ammunition as they push California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to sign into law legislation extending the incentives.
“The numbers reflected are indeed based on Entertainment Partners’ analysis of our own employment records," Ron Cogan, a spokesman for the company, said in a statement to Backstage.
"Entertainment Partners is proud to have offered nationwide payroll services to the motion picture industry for over three decades, and to be able to provide some insights on the impact production tax credits have had on production location decisions in the industry.”
The figures were shared with the Motion Picture Association of America in May and with Brown's office in recent weeks, according to reports. "We do wish to stress that these figures are based on an analysis of our raw data and there was no 'report' distributed to any of the parties mentioned other than those statistics reported," Cogan noted.
Brown is currently working his way through about 400 bills, including two that would extend the tax credit program through 2017. The governor has until Sept. 30 to sign one of the bills and legislative aides are anticipating it'll be close to the deadline when Brown takes action.
Some labor groups have opposed the program's extension. The California Teachers Association and the California School Employees Association, AFL-CIO, argued the state shouldn’t be extending tax credits when thousands of its members are facing layoffs in the wake of cuts to education funding. In June, an analysis prepared by the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office found that the program “appears to result in a net decline in state revenues.”
There's no question that California has been losing productions to other states. Entertainment Partners noted that the top beneficiary of runaway production moving jobs away from California was New York, followed by Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.
Overall, California's share of total production wages in the United States dropped from 68 percent in 2004 to 59 percent in 2011, according to the company.