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Political Landscape:

Bill aims to boost the arts

April 04, 2009

A state legislative committee for the arts, entertainment and tourism sector approved a bill, written by Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, that would allocate 20% of the sales tax revenues derived from arts-related products to supplement the California Arts Council.

The Assembly’s Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism & Internet Media Committee approved the bill on a 5-3 vote Monday, sending it to the Revenue and Taxation Committee for further consideration.

The tax revenue, estimated to be $30 million each year, would go to the Arts Council for state grants.

In a statement released Thursday, Krekorian said the money would be a “shot in the arm for arts programs throughout the state, encourage arts education and create countless jobs — all without costing taxpayers an additional dime.”

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Budget cuts have reduced funding to the Arts Council by about $29 million over the last seven years, according to Krekorian’s office.

In February, Krekorian, whose district includes the studio-rich areas of Burbank and Glendale, won a victory in the form of a 25% refundable tax credit for productions that are currently filming outside of the state but opt to move operations to California.

The stimulus bill, which passed the Legislature with bipartisan support and was signed into law by the governor, provides a 20% refundable tax credit for new productions in the state. The credits apply to motion pictures with budgets between $1 million and $75 million, or to TV shows and commercials.

Congress works to expand veterans benefits

Three Congressional bills that would expand benefits for veterans received strong support from Rep. David Dreier, whose district includes portions of La Crescenta.

As part of the package that sailed through the House on Monday, representatives reauthorized the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program, which provides training, counseling and job-placement services, through 2014.

A second bill would allow veterans to seek reimbursement from the Department of Veterans Affairs if they seek emergency medical treatment a non-prescribed facility.

The last bill increases disability compensation rates by the same amount as those under Social Security.

Rep. Adam Schiff, whose district includes Glendale and Burbank, also pushed through a House bill that would ensure benefits for returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan don’t count against them when they apply for college financial aid.

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