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Screen Actors Guild works with coalition of unions on tax incentive bill worth nearly $400 million

New York (April 27, 2006)— Screen Actors Guild today heralded the passage of a New York state bill that extends 2004’s successful Empire State Film Production Credit through 2011. The new legislation significantly increases the state’s 10 percent credit from $25 million to $60 million; allows New York City to more than double its five percent tax credit from $12.5 million per year to $30 million per year for productions shot within the city; and breaks unprecedented ground for commercial work.

The creation of the landmark Empire State Commercial Production Credit allocates $7 million in total tax credit per year from New York state, and gives New York City an opportunity to opt in at an additional $3.5 million per year, which Screen Actors Guild is actively encouraging. With three different qualifying tiers of tax incentives—one at 20 percent and the other two at five percent—the commercial credit manages to encourage new production while acknowledging the loyalty of existing business.

Screen Actors Guild lobbied aggressively for this bill that will bring more film, TV and commercial production to New York with its guarantee of nearly $400 million in tax incentive funds. The Guild worked in concert with the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Editors Guild as well as members of the New York Production Alliance.

“This victory against runaway production means more jobs for New York actors, which is as good as it gets,” said SAG New York Division President Paul Christie. “By extending the tax incentive program, increasing the caps and bringing commercial production into the equation for the first time, the New York State Legislature, including Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, New York Assemblyman Joseph Morelle and State Senator Martin Golden, has again recognized our industry’s incredible value to the state economy.”

Today’s news comes on the heels of other Guild-led improvements to New York’s production statistics. For instance, from 2005 to 2006 there was a 45 percent jump in background performer days—from 6,092 in 2005 to 11,105 in 2006.

The Empire State Film Production Credit is just one in a series of legislative wins in New York that includes the Child Performer bill (2003) and the New York Insurance Continuation Assistance Demonstration Project (COBRA) bill in 2004, all of which were enacted by Governor George Pataki. The Guild is vigorously working on an Anti-Piracy bill for New York as well.

In addition to its various New York legislative efforts, the Guild is working to curb runaway production nationwide. Recent Guild-sponsored tax incentive legislation has passed in Illinois, Utah and Montana. Similar legislation is also currently pending in California, Colorado, New Jersey and Tennessee. This issue is of utmost important to the Guild, as it directly affects the number of job opportunities available for actors in the U.S.