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New York film production tax credit alive and well in 2010-2011 budget

While New York struggles with its mounting budget problems, Governor Paterson paved the way for future profits in the movie business by including $2.1 billion or $420 million in tax refunds per year over the next five years in his 2010-2011 State Budget by extending and increasing the funding available under the New York Film Production Tax Credit.

Under the program, qualifying fim and television productions made in New York can receive tax credits equaling 30% of qualified production costs plus an additional 5% if the production is made in New York City.  In his 2010-2011 Budget, Governor Paterson made  a few modifications to the program such as requiring 75% of the post-production work be completed in New York as well and requiring an end credit in the show, movie or on the DVD.

In these difficult times, one finds it hard to understand the Governor's motivation to subsidize what many consider to be a thriving industry while New York State is in such fiscal disrepair.  Proponents of the credit say it has been effective at creating or retaining jobs in New York.   They back this up with a 2009 Ernst & Young report that stated, for every dollar spent in tax credits, $1.90 in state and local tax revenues were generated.  Some would argue that these productions would have been made in New York with or without the tax breaks.

In testimony to the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee, Edmund McMahon, Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and Director, Empire Center for New York State Policy, Mr. McMahon testified that "More than a half-billion dollars in credits were allocated through the program between 2004 and 2008 - meaning that all other New York taxpayers will pay an average of $4 million more in taxes for each of the 120 productions supposedly attracted to the State during that period."

While it is difficult to ascertain the added benefit created by this generous subsidy, many would speculate a 30% subsidy to their industry would help them create or retain jobs as well.  Perhaps the Governor should consider spreading the wealth.


  • chris 5 years ago

    well i can tell you first hand what it does . i was originally working in baltimore where their use to be a credit. once the credit was gone and the state wouldnt renew all the work went away hundreds of film workers including myself were left without work and no choice but to move to state with the tax credit. new york wouldnt make the 1.90 without it. film is a bottom line business they could care less about new york or anywhere else. gov. paterson did a great thing by allowing thousands of workers to keep their jobs and hundreds of businesses to keep making profits. think a little bigger next time friend.

  • Rob 5 years ago

    I agree with Chris. When they threatened not to renew the NY film tax credit after 2008, we lost Ugly Betty for a season (they went to Cali), we lost Fringe (to Vancouver), and new productions all but stopped coming to NYC to film. Add to this, all 3 Law & Order's were considering moving. Luckily, Patterson realized and corrected his thinking in time to save some of these (we still lost several tv shows, and many films went to Toronto to film on their "New York City" sets). Once the credit was renewed, Ugly Betty moved back, and the city had a boom of film and tv work with many new productions choosing to come to film here. The trickle down effect of these productions into the local economy was enormous, and created thousands of jobs as yes, think of the big picture next time...not everyone (actually hardly anyone)in the tv/film industry is rich and famous.

  • Dennis 5 years ago

    I know this is an old article but would like to make a another comment. The film industry is very competitive without the tax credit New York has lost so many productions. The credit works well for this particular business more so than most others because the return is so much higher. I don't know the exact numbers but a 400 million dollar credit become 7 billion dollars of the states economy. Not to mention all the jobs and periphery industries effected. That seems like a pretty obvious decision. Also as the other comments stated these jobs will not stay without the credit. I've lost work to Canada a few times.

  • Juanita 5 years ago

    These guys are 100% right! Our company is a family owned business. We've been selling to the Film & Television industry for over 70 years. It has been REALLY slow for months! They say that everyone is standing by waiting for the tax incentive. What is going on with that?

  • Hasan 5 years ago

    We provide exclusive access to top grade independent film projects and producers.

  • dave 4 years ago

    The tax credit policy is an excellent example of progressive, intelligent taxation.
    The reality is that the credit CREATES more taxes for the state - in the form
    of income taxes that did not exist before - than it is given away in the form of credits. Not just for those making the actual project, but for all supporting industries too, catering, drivers, etc.

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