N.Y. budget includes tax credit upgrade

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NEW YORK -- New York will increase its tax credit benefits to 15% and cover above and below-the-line costs, according to the 2008 state budget proposed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer on Tuesday. The current tax credit offered to qualifying productions by the state is 10% and only covers below-the-line costs. Additionally, the proposed budget would raise the benefit cap from $60 million to $75 million by 2011.

Should the proposed legislation pass the State Assembly, it would increase the current 10% offered to qualifying productions by the state by another 5%. Additionally, the benefit cap will rise from $60 million to $75 million by 2011.

"We had to go back and review the program as it currently exists in light of the competition that we're facing from many of our neighbors," said New York State Film Commissioner Pat Kaufman, referring to recent incentives enacted in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.

When the first New York state tax credit was signed into law in 2004, it activated piggyback legislation that allowed New York City to add on another 5% for qualifying productions. Should the state's legislation pass, the total amount of potential tax credit for a qualifying production could rise to 20% of above and below-the-line costs.

The budget deadline for passage is April 1, but historically New York's State Assembly has been tardy with that date.
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