February 14, 2009

Save New York's TV and film tax credits

I'm a few days late on this, but as someone who's been trying to get a low-budget NYC production off the ground for the past six months, this is not a pleasant specter to stare in the face:

A highly successful state program that provides tax credits to lure TV and film productions to New York has run out of cash - and now industry officials fear producers will run to other states in search of better deals.

As the first harbinger of bad news to come, the number of TV pilots scheduled for production in New York this year slumped to zero, from 19 last year.

See the NY Post article for more, and please sign the online petition to save the credits. This doesn't only affect big corporations that (used to) have wads of cash -- it also affects independent producers for whom saved pennies are invaluable. Plenty of other industries are getting bailed out by the government, but I suppose the film industry is seen as peripheral next to basic American institutions like banks (understandable, given the universal necessity of cash flow) and the auto industry (less understandable, given their historic myopia -- although the government is culpable for the deregulation of both industries).

Besides, it's in the state's own best self-interest to reinstitute the credits:

Since the program began, the state and city combined have issued $690 million in tax credits and have collected $2.7 billion in taxes from movie and TV productions, according to a study by Ernst & Young.

The study also found that during 2007, New York's movie and TV industry created 7,031 jobs directly - and an additional 12,481 indirectly.

[Via the Filmmaker Magazine blog]

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