There's still hope for N.Y. tax credits

Senate Republican coup leaves fate of legislation in doubt

NEW YORK -- The New York film and TV industry is holding out hope for a vote on a new long-term production tax credit bill before the impending summer break, even though the state senate remains in disarray after a Republican coup last week left the chamber split 31-31 along major-party lines.

However, hopes are pinned on a bill that has been introduced that would extend the state tax credits of 30% through 2015 and add new funds that would cap payouts at $420 million per year.

When the incentives program ran out of money this year and the legislature moved to extend it by a year with $350 million, the industry argued a long-term commitment is needed to attract and retain productions, especially in TV. 

No vote on the bill has been set amid the chaos in Albany. 

The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Martin Golden and others, would add new additional tax credit funds for the years 2011 through 2015. They can’t be claimed before Jan. 1, 2011.

Industry insiders said their focus is on the state incentives for now rather than on a New York City tax credit program that is about to run out of money.

For the city, the entertainment industry has also been pushing for legislation that would extend production tax credits at the current 5% through 2013. But to give the Big Apple time to address budget woes amid the recession, the proposal also includes caps for annual payouts.

The alternative proposal came after city leaders recently introduced a bill in the state senate in Albany that surprised the industry by calling for a reduction of the city credits to 4%, with TV shows seeing a decrease to 3% in their fourth year and 2% in the fifth before they lose the right to get a credit. The city proposal would extend the incentives program only through 2011 with a $24 million budget per year and a new $250,000 cap for each film or episode of a TV series.

It was unclear where the talks over the city incentives stand between the team of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the industry.

Bloomberg this week signaled that talks continue and called on the industry to agree to a solution that keeps the recession and budget woes in mind.

The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting has not commented on the situation.