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City Hall approves tax incentives for film, TV

Move grants a 5% benefit on below-the-line expenses

Two weeks after a cadre of showbiz bigwigs packed New York City Hall to convince Gotham politicos to pass a 5% tax credit for film and TV production, the City Council has given the initiative the thumbs up.

Move, which was expected, grants a 5% benefit on below-the-line expenses for productions that sked 75% of their shoots in Gotham. Effort is twinned with a 10% state tax credit that passed in Albany in August.

“I pledged to deliver a package of incentives that would support and attract film and television production,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “and I am extremely pleased that today the City Council has passed the New York City Film Production Credit legislation.

“Film and television production employs over 100,000 New Yorkers,” Bloomberg added, “and this measure is a critical component of our efforts to retain and attract production work for this key employment sector.”

As further evidence of his administration’s commitment to bringing showbiz here, hizzoner further cited the city’s investment of $28 million in infrastructure improvements at Brooklyn’s Navy Yard to spur the development of soundstage facility Steiner Studios, as well as the creation of a marketing credit that will provide free advertising to qualifying productions that shoot in Gotham.

Bloomberg and his film and TV commish Katherine Oliver have also been rolling out plans to provide discounts on amenities for visiting shoots.

A gaggle of industryites, including TV producers Dick Wolf and Llewellyn Wells, Tribeca Prods.’ Jane Rosenthal, New Line’s Richard Socarides, NBC Universal’s Jerry DiCanio and rapper-actor Ice-T appeared before City Council members Dec. 1 to testify about the need for such legislation.

The impressed pols saw the initiative as a way to provide well-paying blue-collar jobs to city dwellers.

New York state’s new tax incentives seem to be paying off already, with productions including Fox’s “Jonny Zero” and Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” saying they have specifically stayed in Gotham thanks to the deal.

On a federal level, President Bush signed in November a massive tax bill containing a provision that enables producers to write off in a single year the costs of a film budgeted at $1 million to $15 million if 75% of that coin is spent in the U.S.

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