NYC empties its tax credit coffers

Film industry pushing for continuation of 5% incentive

NEW YORK -- New York City has exhausted its budget for tax incentives for film and TV productions as of Tuesday, city officials announced Wednesday just ahead of the July 4 weekend.

"New York City's 'Made in NY' tax credit for qualified film and television production – the only one of its kind administered by a city in the U.S. -- has reached its full allocation of $192.5 million and funds are no longer available for new applications," the NYC Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting said.

Productions have been able to claim 5% tax credits from the city in addition to a 30% production tax credit from N.Y. state.

"Any disruption in the process is not good, especially as we ramp up to the typical TV season," said John Johnston, executive director of the New York Production Alliance, about the NYC funding situation. He also once again urged lawmakers to pass new long-term incentives plans for NYC and N.Y. state.

"Wavering does not instill confidence in the studios that N.Y. is committed to supporting a successful economic and job creating program," Johnston said. "We continue to urge our legislators to take a long-term view and make a multiyear commitment with no annual cap."

The city recently proposed an extension of its incentives program using lower tax credits, but the entertainment industry proposed a continuation of the 5% program, while suggesting annual payout limits to allow the city to retain flexibility amid the recession and budget woes. However, any legislation has been on hold in Albany amid a power struggle in the state

The Mayor's film office said Wednesday that productions can still send incentives applications to the city. "However, at this time, it is unclear whether new legislation will cover applications received during the interim," it added.

Stuart Suna, president of Silvercup Studios, said it is important for New York to continue production incentives, because film and TV are the only industry growing in the state besides health care.

"We are optimistic that once the New York State Senate reconvenes it will take action to extend the (city) program as we are all requesting," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "And in the interim, let's remember that the main program -- the 30% state program -- is still in place."