NY Film Tax Credits Pro And Con

May 8, 2013

The Tonight Show is coming home to New York - the late night program left for California in 1972, but the lure of state tax credits has proven irresistible to the NBC television network. The show is expected to generate more than 100 million dollars in economic benefits for the Empire State. But not everyone supports the film tax credit.

Schenectady Film Commission head Don Rittner is responsible for bringing the motion picture production crew of "Place Beyond The Pines" to the area. The Focus Features film was shot and takes place in and around Schenectady. Rittner says the incentive to make movies upstate has grown and the tax credits help attract filmmakers.

Mike Fuerstein  is a local filmmaker and educator. He explains that New York's film credits don't make much of a difference for the smaller independent film or documentary maker. Furestein sees tax credits as a bargaining chip in persuading producers to film upstate.

Not everyone is welcoming movie and TV crews with open arms and wallets.  Republican Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, who represents portions the Hudson Valley, introduced a bill at the end of April to restore $90 million in funding for not-for-profit programs for people with developmental disabilities, taking the money from the $420 million allotted in the budget for New York film production tax credits.

Jimmy Fallon’s New York City-based Tonight Show became something of a lightning rod among tax credit critics. Lalor outlines his opposition to tax credits.  Lalor expects resistance from downstate Democratic lawmakers whose districts are home to film and television productions.