Subsidy Sheet: NY must win the race to the bottom! Even more film/TV subsidies


Earlier this year, NY elected officials approved $7.7 billion in giveaways to the film industry and expanded the reimbursement to 30% of future production costs (from 25%). But apparently that wasn’t enough. This week, Governor Hochul signed a feckless bill allowing productions that applied before the changes to get the expanded state subsidy. Reinvent Albany and Citizens Budget Commission opposed the bill.

Previously, promoters argued that the massive $7.7 billion subsidy ($700 million per year x 11 years) was needed to draw new productions to New York and keep ongoing ones from being lured away by other states offering higher taxpayer-provided tax credits. We disagree, but there is a race-to-the-bottom logic to it.

The bill the Governor just signed, however, extends the higher reimbursement subsidy to productions that are completed or already underway. This is like putting another worm on the hook of a fish you’ve already caught. 

Next time the Governor or the Legislature tell you they have to cut funding for clean water, public transit, or green energy, ask them how much the cash subsidy to Hollywood producers is being cut. 

About the Film/TV tax credit:

  • It’s not free money. Bizarrely, cash payments to Hollywood producers are off-budget and accounted for as if they were a refund a taxpayer gets from having too much withheld from their paycheck.
  • Each film/TV job costs NY taxpayers $67,000 per full-time job, according to our analysis. An Amazon HQ2 job, by comparison, would have cost $19,000 per full-time job.
  • Nearly every study on film tax credits shows they’re a bad investment.

Other NY corporate giveaway news:


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