Mixer: Tinseltown tax credits and jobs

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On this first Friday of the month, we got a jobs report from the Labor Department. A lackluster one, nationally, for sure.

But here in Los Angeles, there’s some optimism from city officials and state lawmakers about film and television production jobs sticking around instead of being exported to other parts of the country.

The California legislature passed a bill that gives $330 million in tax credits for studios and producers who do their work inside state borders. More than tripling existing credits.

Joe Mathews is California columnist for Zocalo Public Square, an ideas exchange that publishes daily online.

Mathews said there isn’t any evidence that these kinds of tax credits work. And that passing the bill wasn’t about keeping production at home, but rather “about buying cache and glamour”.

In other words, it’s an ego thing.

Dan Morain, Editorial Page Editor for the Sacramento Bee, joined us from the Capitol region. He says the bill is headed to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk, and the governor has indicated he will sign it.

That leads to this question: At what point do we get to the place where states are trying to outbid other states to keep these types of productions in their locales? When one state ups their credits, only to see another up theirs?

All the while Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is advocating for a higher city minimum wage.

Garcetti’s proposal was announced on Labor Day this week, to raise the wage to $13.25 an hour by 2017.

Mathews says this a meat-and-potatoes issue that the populace generally likes. But some business groups continue to cry foul, despite two corporate heavy-hitters — Eli Broad and Rick Caruso — getting on board.

These city minimum wage fights are being sought in other places in the state as well. There’s a ballot measure in San Francisco that would raise it to $15.00 an hour.

The Sacramento Bee’s Morain says this is also a way for labor unions to flex their muscles across the state and country.