Subsidy Sheet: An [almost] fully-baked budget, chock full o’ billions in new corporate giveaways


Last night, Governor Hochul announced that she and legislative leaders have reached a tentative agreement on a $229 billion state budget. While we haven’t seen any bill language yet, we have a general idea of what’s in and what’s out. Unfortunately, it seems like a lot of corporate giveaways are in.

That includes:

  • $7.7 billion for Hollywood producers
  • $300 million – a year – for Broadway
  • No end in sight for Trump Opportunity Zones
  • A continuation of Madison Square Garden’s eternal tax break

New York’s Democratic politicians continue to greenlight some massive corporate giveaways, while shunning others. For example, while the Amazon HQ2 plan was rightfully blasted by Democrats, those same Democrats have either been silent on the film/TV tax credit for Hollywood, or have actively promoted it.

A corporate giveaway is a corporate giveaway. None of them work and all of them take our tax dollars away from funding basic services that help build a more just and equitable New York.

New York Corporate Giveaway News:

  • The NYT reports on the proposed $7.7 billion state subsidy for Hollywood, citing experts who explain that there is no evidence that film subsidies ever come close to paying for themselves. 
  • MTA Chair Leiber is opposed to one aspect of a newly-proposed Penn Station overhaul because it would involve another taxpayer handout to Madison Square Garden owner James Dolan. 
  • The Erie County IDA will provide extended and expanded subsidies to businesses that hire women and minority contractors. 
  • The Erie County IDA is shelling out subsidies for a development that will create one full-time and two part-time jobs in Tonawanda. 
  • Bloomberg Tax columnist Andrew Leahey asks if the Madison Square Garden tax abatement is a good deal for the public. His answer? A resounding NO.

Fun Fact: New York State’s refundable “tax credit” programs have nothing to do with taxes. They are state grants reimbursing business owners for a share of their expenses. Business owners get the state money in the form of “credits” on their tax returns regardless of whether, in the case of a movie or TV production, they make any money. 

Double Fun Fact: Despite being direct state payments to business owners, “tax credits” are not counted as expenses, are not appropriated, and are completely off-budget. 

If you got this from a friend, sign up here. Subsidy Sheet is written by Elizabeth Marcello and edited by John Kaehny.