Biz wary of N.Y. tax plan

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New York would free up an additional $350 million for an existing film and TV production tax-credit program under a budget agreement reached in Albany during the weekend.

Industry observers, however, said the funding is a short-term Band-Aid rather than a long-term solution. Their main concern: The new funding won't attract and bind TV shows to the state, and it likely will run out in less than a year.

New York state lawmakers are set to vote on the budget bill by Wednesday, with political observers saying its passage is far from certain given a secretive budgeting process, small majorities in the legislature and a large budget deficit.

Industryites said the limited tax-credit financing for productions in the Empire State could be a blow to New York's hopes to attract new TV shows and maybe even efforts to retain existing shows like "30 Rock."

"We are going to get work, but not long-term commitments," said John Johnston, executive director of the New York Production Alliance. "There is no long-term guarantee for TV shows that want to come to the state."

He did say that the NYPA is "very grateful that the state recognized the importance of the industry."

Industry reps have been pushing hard to renew funding for the state's popular 30% tax credit on below-the-line production costs that runs through 2013 and had attracted films and TV shows. They have been fighting for unlimited funding, pointing to the financial benefit the program has brought to the state. They also have argued that productions, especially in TV, need planning security when putting together budgets and deciding on locations.

The new funding provision is capped, and observers expect the money to run out quickly.
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