It's still moving without a price tag, but the bill to expand California's Film and Television Tax Credit program passed its first test in the state senate on Wednesday.
By a vote of 4-0, the Senate Governance and Finance Committee approved AB 1839, sponsored originally by Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima). The chairwoman of the committee, Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis), abstained.
As the Hollywood Reporter points out, Wolk was expected at least to raise questions about the proposal, and she did. Saying that she didn't like "blank checks," Wolk highlighted the great unanswered question about the bill: just how much money do supporters want to add to California's annual pot of tax incentives offered to film and TV productions that shoot here?
The pot currently stands at $100 million dollars per year. Since New York State's offering is more than four times that amount - and since the California Film Commission receives way more applications for the credit than it can satisfy, most supporters believe it's far from enough. But those supporters have pushed their proposal this far without declaring a dollar figure.
That's expected to change at the bill's next stop: the Senate Appropriations Committee, where Los Angeles-area Senator Kevin de León is chairman.