California’s embattled Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom is making a $30 million tax credit bet that he can lure filmmaking and television production projects from states like Georgia experiencing industry boycotts after passing controversial voting reforms, the news organization Deadline reported Friday.
”This is an opportunity for those productions, TV and others, in places like Georgia, whose values don’t necessarily align with the productions, crews to consider coming back to the state of California,” Newsom said in the report. ”And that’s what that $30 million intends to do.”
Newsom, who is facing a recall vote in his state, was referring to a controversial voting reform bill passed by the Republican-led state Legislature in Georgia and signed into law by GOP Gov. Brian Kemp.
Known as the Election Integrity Act of 2021, the new law increases polling times and dates while tightening restrictions on mail-in voting and showing identification before casting a ballot in person or by mail.
According to the law, there was a loss of confidence in the system after the 2020 election and several lawsuits were brought against the state as a result.
The law was also fueled by a huge increase of mail-in and absentee votes cast in that election due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the document said.
Opponents of the law claim it disproportionately disenfranchises people of color and the poor in the state by making it harder for them to cast their ballots, CBS News reported.
President Joe Biden called the law ”Jim Crow 2.0” in his address to a joint session of Congress last month, referring to the racist culture before the civil rights movement where laws were on the books specifically targeting Black individuals.
As a result of the law, several film and television production projects joined other private industry firms to boycott the state.
Major League Baseball pulled its annual All-Star game from Atlanta to protest the law, and other companies openly criticized the measure, potentially costing the state millions in lost revenue, NPR reported.
Newsom hopes the move will bring some of that revenue back to California, which has suffered financially in the last several years from losing businesses and people to less tax-burdened states like Texas.
Newsom’s $30 million tax incentive ante is in addition to $330 million the state offers annually through its California Film Commission, according to the report.
”The governor is excited to provide additional support to the entertainment industry, which is a pillar of California’s economy and has been hard-hit during the pandemic,” Dee Dee Myers, director of the Office of Business and Economic Development, which includes the film commission, said in the report. ”And as the governor said, if there’s a production out there that feels another state’s values don’t align with theirs, California would be delighted to welcome them back!”
According to the report, several projects from Georgia, New York and Canada have already returned to produce in the Golden State this year.
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