Industry Report: Focus: North America
Film industry a driving economic force in New York
by Sara A. Emmert, FilmContact.com, The Legislative Gazzette
- New York state's film tax credit has generated almost $7 billion in economic activity since 2004 and has become an important economic source for the state, said DiNapoli in a released statement.
In 2008, the state's film industry employed as many as 63,000 workers and paid as much as $5 billion in wages, according to the report.
New York City reaps most of the rewards from the industry's presence in the state, with more than two-thirds of all film and TV production jobs within the Big Apple's five boroughs.
"This report puts a number on the contribution of film and television productions to New York's economy," said DiNapoli. "But there's also an intrinsic added value that's difficult to measure but very real."
He said, "visitors from all over the world come to New York because of iconic movies and TV shows shot here. The film tax credit has helped this industry grow and employ tens of thousands of people; it's one of New York's key economic drivers."
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the number of film and TV production jobs, including post-production jobs, in New York rose by 14.2 percent between 2004 and 2008 to 36,000 jobs.
According to DiNapoli's report, Queens is home to two of the largest film facilities in the state, Silvercup Studios, which is the location for popular television show "Gossip Girl," and the 90-year-old Kaufman Studios.
A movie recently released called "Brooklyn's Finest" was filmed in Brooklyn's 100,000- square-foot Steiner Studios. The report also said all three studios have announced plans to expand.
Hal G. Rosenbluth, president of Kaufman Studios, said he is grateful for DiNapoli's report because it supports what his studio has been experiencing since the state introduced its film production tax credit.
"The program is very successful for the state and city, providing positive revenue, well-paying union jobs and infrastructure growth," said Rosenbluth.
Currently, the state's film production tax credit covers 30 percent of a film or TV production's qualifying costs, including crew salaries and equipment expenses.
State legislators are now considering extending the tax credit program through 2015 to compete with the other 42 states that provide similar tax incentives to lure film work away from New York, according to the report.
Efforts to create a post-production film tax credit are currently under way, as new legislation (S.4943/A.5784) proposed by Senate Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman Jose Serrano, D-Bronx, seeks to allow a 10 percent tax credit for post-production work in the state.
"After the attacks of 9/11, it was the arts and the cultural industries that really helped bring New York [city] back … out of the immediate financial recession that occurred after those attacks," said Serrano.