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in Filmmaking
on Mar 30, 2009

An additional $350 million for the New York State Film Production Tax Credit program has been found to continue supporting the state’s popular film and TV tax incentives. The funds were announced as part of the budget that was proposed today; however, given that last year the state issued $460 million in film and TV tax incentives and that this new $350 million is capped, it’s clearly a stopgap motion for the program. The lack of long-term visibility means that TV shows in particular will be wary of setting up shop in New York for fear that the program will not be extended in future years. George Szalai in The Hollywood Reporter has the details, and he quotes John Johnston from the New York Production Alliance:

Johnston and [Silvercup’s Stuart] Suna said the industry will continue to push for legislation outside the budget bill that would provide unlimited funding for the production incentives.

“We certainly don’t want to wait until next year’s budget to talk about this,” Johnston said. “This is a short-term fix, not a long-term solution.”

Industry folks point out that the incentives get paid out long after the state gets additional tax revenue from productions, which also employ more people. This means the tax credits are a boon for the state at a time of declining tax revenue and gaping budget holes due to the recession.

The Ernst & Young report found that for 2007, New York’s incentives program created and retained 7,031 industry jobs in New York, or 19,512 when including other sectors. The study also found that production credits amounting to $184 million for the year led to added state taxes of $209 million. For 2004-10, the study predicted $2 billion in added revenue from incentive-related economic activity in the state.

“This is an economic engine, but it needs fuel,” Johnston said.

Everyone who lobbied or called in support of the program should consider this at least a partial victory. We’ll keep you informed as to the next round of lobbying.

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