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In Sacramento, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti talks water, film tax credit

On proposed film tax credit, L.A. Mayor Garcetti says he wants more than a 'symbolic' win

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti met with Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders Thursday in his first visit to the Capitol since taking office.

Water infrastructure and a proposed film tax credit were at the top of the day's agenda.

Garcetti is pushing for an expansion of the current tax credit, which awards $100 million annually, to stop film production from leaving the state. A new film incentive proposal -- with a price tag still to be determined -- easily passed the Assembly last week.  

"I think we've changed the debate up here and there's universal support," Garcetti said. "It's not a matter of if, it's how much. And for me, to just double the tax credit would be more symbolic than tangible."

Brown has yet to say publicly if he backs an expansion; Garcetti said his conversation with the governor regarding the tax credit was "encouraging."

Garcetti's visit comes just as lawmakers are trying to hash out a new water bond to put before voters in November. The measure would replace an $11-billion bond currently on the November ballot that was crafted in 2009.

The mayor was cool on the 2009 bond, saying Los Angeles has "evolved in how we're treating water."

"We're coming up with a 'One Water' strategy that ties our wastewater, storm water and water supply together, and I don't think there's enough probably in the older bond that has that," Garcetti said.

In addition to a potential new water bond, Garcetti said he and Brown discussed the governor's proposal to build two massive tunnels to move water from north to south.

"My concern for Los Angeles is to make sure whether it's the bond or the tunnels, [the costs] don’t land on the backs of the Los Angeles rate payers without our water needs being met too," he said. 

In addition to Brown, Garcetti met with Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles), who is set to be the next Senate leader.

Garcetti said he keeps in close contact with state lawmakers, especially when many pass through Los Angeles for events.

"I do feel like I'm up here a lot, even if not physically," he said.

Still, he added, "it's important for people to see me directly firsthand," noting the visit gave him a chance to chat about the film tax credit with Sen. Lois Wolk (D-Davis), a skeptic of the proposed expansion.

"It's great to have his help," said Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), a co-author of the credit. "When a guy who represents almost 4 million Californians speaks, people tend to listen."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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