We all remember “Marv” from Home Alone– the not-so-clever “Wet Bandit” burglar, played by Daniel Stern. Thanks to great acting and the several talented makeup and special effects artists— we all laughed as 10 year old Macaulay Culkin repeatedly beat the ever-living-crap out of Stern and his co-star Joe Pesci. The ability to deliver this kind of pain-free magic to families the world over, generation after generation, is what California’s movie industry is famous for. And each and every worker on the production contributes to the magic we see on-screen. But recently, that magic–and the livelihoods of the workers who bring it to life– have been under attack.
That’s why today in Sacramento, Daniel Stern, Carl Weathers, Ron Perlman and the crew of Pretty Little Liars, joined hundreds of other film and television workers in lending their voice to support the film production tax credit (AB 1839), a bill authored by Assemblymembers Raul Bocanegra and Mike Gatto and co-sponsored by the California Labor Federation, IATSE, the Teamsters, SAG-AFTRA and other unions. AB 1839 would help to rescue California’s film industry by giving it a badly needed $400 million boost in film production incentives, making it competitive again with states like New York.
When other states and countries beef up their tax incentives for production, it puts workers in a very difficult position. California’s film industry has historically been the source of good family-wage jobs for thousands of workers but now it is increasingly the cause of tearing California families apart. Too often, film and television jobs that have traditionally been in California are moving to places like Louisiana, Georgia and New York, sapping billions of dollars from California’s economy and leaving thousands out of work.
Sons of Anarchy star, Ron Perlman said:
“I have nothing against Louisiana or even my home state of New York. But every time I have to jump on a plane to go shoot there, I know that my brothers and sisters here in California are out of a job.”
Adding insult to injury many of the tax incentives in other states mandate filmmakers hire underqualified crew members.
Carl Weathers, known and loved for his diverse roles in everything from Rocky and Happy Gilmore to Arrested Development, summed up the problem by saying:
“More and more film experts are sent out of California to train other less qualified people below-the-line to take away their jobs. That’s not right. It’s time to pass AB 1839.”
The economic benefits of movie-making touches all aspects of California’s economy. The industry spurs jobs not just in Hollywood, but from the Napa Valley to San Diego and everywhere in between. It’s a crucial piece of the state’s economy and legacy, and protecting it is one of the few issues that garners bipartisan support. It’s now up to the legislature to pass this important bill and for Governor Brown to sign it in order to save the industry that has made California a universal star.
California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:
“AB 1839 would make California competitive again. It will increase revenue. Support small business. Most importantly, it will send a clear signal across the country that California respects and values middle-class workers. It’s time to bring those jobs home. It’s time that film and television is California-made again. We’re here today to send a message to every legislator in the Capitol. Pass AB 1839! Bring our jobs home!”