Infighting among Albany lawmakers has kneecapped New York City’s “Made in NY” tax credit program, at least temporarily.
The incentive, an extra 5% tax credit on below-the-line expenditures in addition to the 30% offered by the state, benefits productions shot in New York City, ranging from newcomers like HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” to stalwarts like NBC’s “Law and Order.”
But the program has reached its maximum refund amount of $192.5 million. The city needs legislators in Albany to approve an extension of the tax credit before it can allocate refunds for new productions.
“The city proposed an extension of the program in May and is awaiting passage of its legislation in Albany that will allow the credit program to continue in a fiscally responsible manner,” said a rep for the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting.
But there’s no legislation without legislators, and New York’s State Senate hasn’t had a quorum in weeks amid a fight between Democrat Malcolm A. Smith and Republican Dean G. Skelos, who are both claiming to be the majority leader. Tensions reached a high point on June 9, when Democrats locked Republicans out of the Senate chambers.
“It doesn’t affect the line of allocation right now,” said Douglas C. Steiner, prexy of Brooklyn-based facility Steiner Studios. “Everyone who’s here has (an) allocation. But there’s no mechanism in place in the Senate to break a stalemate. If you ask anyone in Albany, no one knows how it will be resolved or when it will be resolved.”
The bickering has prevented the city’s proposed tax credit legislation from being heard. Local biz players weren’t thrilled with the state’s plan to scale back New York City’s portion of the credit to 4% and to phase it out for long-running shows that have used the credit for several years.
But they all agree that any credit is better than no credit at all.