New York Governor: Extend Movie, TV and Commercial Tax Credits

Getty Images
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

The annual allocation of $420 million would be extended for five years under the budget proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The state of New York’s generous movie and television tax credit program would be extended through 2019 under the proposed budget announced Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Shows currently shot in New York state include CBS' Elementary and Blue Bloods and The CW's The Carrie Diaries.

The program costs the state $420 million a year and has proved effective in attracting movie and TV productions to the state, as well as commercials and postproduction activities.

The five-year extension of the program, currently funded through 2014, would include some added reporting requirements to better document that the money being spent actually is creating jobs.

The proposed extension also would ease some restrictions related to credits for postproduction work in the state. Last year New York raised the postproduction tax credit available from 10 percent to 30 percent in the New York City region, with an additional 5 percent if work is done upstate (as long as 75 percent or more of the work is done in the Empire State).

In November, the governor’s Office for Motion Picture and Television Development said as a result the state attracted a record number of applicants for post work. They announced 24 productions had qualified, which is more than they had in the two years before the new rates took effect in July.

The state’s total budget under the proposal is $136.5 billion, up 1.9 percent over the prior year. It does not call for any new taxes but does extend and expand some existing taxes and fees, like the cost of getting a traffic ticket.

Under New York regulations, the state offers up to a 30 percent fully refundable tax credit on qualified expenses (spent in the state during production). There also is a 5 percent investment tax credit for construction and upgrades to film production facilities, plus certain employment tax credit incentives.

There also are sales tax exemptions that apply to local and use taxes for qualified productions. There are other rules as well, and the tax credits don’t apply to news, sports, reality, talk, documentaries and some other kinds of shows.

Still, the success of New York's program has proved to be a problem for many other states that don’t have as generous a set of credits or as much to fund the program. Among those is California, which allocates only $100 million a year to movie/TV credits, all of which is quickly used up each June when applications are accepted.