NY Film Subsidy a Boost for Hollywood on the Hudson

State legislators announced Tuesday that New York film tax credits will increase 66% to $700 million annually—a move intended to boost the local television and film production industry.

In legislation that will benefit Yonkers and solidify its place as “Hollywood on the Hudson,” the existing tax credits structure has been expanded to include a portion of the expenses for director, actor, composer, and writer salaries in addition to other eligible production costs for New York state-based projects.

The revised New York film tax credits allows production companies to claim up to 30% of eligible production costs, including up to $500,000 for each salary, for film and television series filmed in New York state.

As part of New York’s expansive $229 billion state budget, which legislators began approving May 1st, the incentive program now ranks as one of the largest industry tax credits in the nation. Additional incentives include a 10% bonus credit for filming in select counties north of New York City, and a 5% credit for existing television productions that relocate from elsewhere in the country to film in New York.

The revised New York film tax credit was first recommended by Gov. Kathy Hochul in February as part of her state budget proposal. As rationale for the increase, Gov. Hochul referenced increased competition from other states with attractive subsidies for film production, including New Jersey.

Not all are fans

Some legislators criticize the generosity of the New York film subsidy program, suggesting that the credits only benefit the wealthy–instead of benefitting local businesses. During budgetary debates Monday, Assembly member Andrew Goodell of western New York expressed his concern that the beneficiaries of the tax credits are few.

This tax credit helps the filthy rich,” he said. “What are we doing to help […] our local businesses across the state, not just the ones that make a fancy film with multi-millionaires in New York City once in a while? No tax credit for those folks. Too bad.”

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers), meanwhile, expressed her support for the revised program, and is keen to see how it benefits the local economy. “I think there’s a lot to be done creatively in this space,” Stewart-Cousins said.

“While again, we continue to compete with California and everyone else to get our shows here. And they need a certain amount of vision about where they can be in the future, and I really want them here in New York.”

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