Governor Andrew Cuomo and his Democratic cohorts have approved $840 million in refundable credits for television and movie producers over the next two fiscal years. This comes on top of $7.3 billion worth of incentives handed to the industry since 2004, according to the Citizens Budget Commission.
By Clark Savage, Jr.
“That’s almost two new Tappan Zee Bridges that we’ve spent just on subsidizing the film industry,” said David Friedfel, director of state studies for the CBC, a business-backed watchdog, to Crain’s New York Business. The sum is “twice as much as Amazon would have gotten and they would have created 25,000 jobs.”
According to Crain’s, the two-year extension “underscores the persistence of government aid to industries that are generous political patrons or haven’t antagonized labor unions, as Amazon did. New York Democrats and Republicans have collected millions of dollars in campaign contributions from Hollywood moguls like Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, as well as from media companies and New York City film studios.”
Each year, New York spends $420 million dollars on film and television productions, according to the New York Post. “The state refunds 30 cents on the dollar for productions in New York City and 40 cents for every dollar spent on film and television production outside the Big Apple. Empire State Development estimates the program is a major money and job creator, but critics call it a corporate subsidy program.”
It was only weeks ago that Cuomo said he’d dump New York State’s $420 million dollar Film Tax Credit Program if it meant the state Senate would ease up on its big spending. “The Senate’s position was very clear on Amazon, ‘We are against tax incentives to bring business to New York.’ That’s why Amazon is gone,” he told reporters. “I can see them being wholly consistent…saying and ‘that’s why we’re against the film tax credit’ because it’s the exact same point.”
“No one stuck his neck out further to lure Amazon to build its new HQ in Queens than New York Governor Cuomo. When Amazon walked from the deal due to protests over the fact it amounted to a $3 billion giveaway to the most valuable public company in the world, Cuomo let his displeasure be known,” reported Indiewire.com
The Governor, “who believed the Amazon deal would be an enormous job creator, is now prepared to let the state’s $420 million dollar Film Tax Credit Program, which offers a 30 percent rebate on in-state below-the-line production costs, to be cut from the upcoming budget to prove his point,” Indiewire.com added.