Hollywood, NY

New York and California in battle for more film business

BY VINNY MURPHY

A battle for supremacy has started, and we’re right in the middle of it. Though it sounds like the tag line to the next big Hollywood blockbuster and even involved Arnold Schwarzenegger at one point, this story is very real.

Over the past few months, California’s law makers have been moving forward on legislation meant to extend a tax credit program initiated in 2009 by then Governor Schwarzenegger. This $100 million annual program was designed to keep television and movie production from leaving the state by providing them with an incentive tax credit.

In recent years, many productions have abandoned the Golden State, often for the incentives that other states are offering. Very recently, a new contender made their intentions known in the battle for Hollywood: New York.

Though the initial program began in 2004, it was only last month that Governor Andrew Cuomo expanded a 10 percent credit into a potential 35 percent for post-production work in the state. This qualification is important, since it allows the filmmakers to shoot wherever they please, and still garner benefits for doing their post-production work in New York. This move is unprecedented and intriguing, as post-production is often the most expensive phase of a Hollywood project.

As one might expect, most of the state’s current film and television production resides in New York City. This new legislation encourages producers to utilize talent throughout New York by offering the highest potential credits in Up-State areas.

Though the previous iteration of the program garnered billions in economic activity according to Cuomo, he felt it was still not alluring enough. The governor made his intentions clear, stating that the program had the potential to “help make New York the television and film capital of the world.”

However, this type of legislation is not without its detractors. Some have claimed that this is nothing more than another tax cut for the wealthy.

Governor Cuomo has proven to have many supporters in Hollywood, and some argue that this is a move to maintain their support for his political career. Furthermore, a large portion of the jobs that could be created would be essentially temporary.

Once a production has wrapped, they take the jobs with them. Job secuirty in this case requires new projects coming into the state constantly, something that no one can guarantee. The paramount fear is that Hollywood will keep the profits for themselves, while the taxpayer is stuck with their bills.

Entertainment is inherently risky business. Only time will tell if this direction for the state will be a blockbuster or a flop.