NEW YORK--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Small businesses across New York State are calling on Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature to extend a tax credit program they say is critical to sustaining thousands of good paying jobs in New York’s booming television and film production industry.
The New York State Film Production Tax Credit Program has proven overwhelmingly successful, generating over $10.4 billion dollars in economic activity and creating more than 89,000 high paying jobs, relayed the New York Production Alliance, a consortium of New York-based film producers, small businesses and labor groups. Empire State Development (ESD), the agency that administers the program for the state, says that at least 541 movies and TV series have been shot in New York utilizing the incentives, which have provided meaningful economic benefits to small businesses and communities across the state.
First implemented in 2004 and expanded under Governor Cuomo in 2013, the program is set to expire in 2019 but will likely run out of funding later this year. Small businesses are urging the state to extend the tax credits and their funding in order to provide certainty to an industry that typically plans productions months and sometimes years in advance.
Long Island native Maria Stewart, whose family runs two production related businesses (Mutual Hardware, which sells materials needed for production rigging, and Alcone, a professional makeup company) says that when the tax credit program took effect she was able to double her staff to more than 50 employees. “These are real people who wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for the important benefits provided by this program. They moved to New York because they believe in the industry and want to be a part of it. We need the state to show that they believe in the industry as much as we do,” Ms. Stewart said.
It’s not just major film studios that rely on the tax credit program. There are countless small businesses around the state that depend on the tax credit program, such as Cari Swanson, owner of Swanson Productions, based in Amenia, N.Y. “Training horses and animals might not sound like a film or television industry related job, but my company provides trained animals on sets. Since the program has been offered, television work is exploding and business has been booming while the local economy is raking in money because of it. During the time I was working two seasons of HBO's show ‘The Knick,’ directed by Steven Soderbergh, I provided 25 horses as well as 30 carriages and wagons. Besides creating more jobs for employees and contractors, the film industry causes local businesses to flourish. In addition, I spend around $800 a month on horse feed. All of this is money that gets put into the local economy thanks in large part due to the film and television industry incentives granted by the state,” Ms. Swanson said.
Al Kharieh, owner of Walton Hauling in Brooklyn, says the program allowed him to expand and hire more people. “Five years ago, my brother and I bought Walton Hauling. At the time, the competitive film tax credits were just taking off. In less than five years, we went from 18 box trucks to 84, all thanks to the tax credit program. Our company deals exclusively with the film and television industry and with Local 817 Teamsters. When you look at the numbers for the amount of revenue created from the film tax credits, also consider the small business owner that is able to expand, the Teamster who is able to stay busy working, and the good-paying careers that are created. We must foster this environment and encourage the film industry to continue filming here or we will lose it all. Without the renewal of the New York State Film Production Tax Credit Program, our company would go under.”
The New York Production Alliance represents the film, television and commercial production and post production industry in New York City and New York State. Representing over 85,000 people, together we promote, grow and strengthen the entertainment industry in New York. Take a stand for New York jobs at www.nypa.org.