Tax Incentives in New York State Are Working

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Tax Incentives in New York State Are Working


Production Applications up 66% in 2011;
Industry Responsible for 141,000 Jobs

WASHINGTON (November 30, 2011) – Analysis of the latest data recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which covers the year 2010, shows that the motion picture and television production industry is responsible for more than 141,000 jobs in New York, including direct production-related jobs as well as indirect jobs in businesses working with the production industry. 

The core production jobs covered in the 2010 jobs report of the New York State Comptroller are up to 43,000, an increase of 20% from the 2008 figure cited in that report (36,000), and an increase of 22% over 2009.  There was a production slowdown in 2009 reflecting uncertainty about the incentive program.  With additional production-related jobs not captured in the core data, the number of direct jobs reaches 48,690, up 13% (nearly 5,600 jobs) over 2009.  Annual job growth between 2009 and 2010 in New York State was flat (0%) and nationwide was down 1%.

New York      
Motion Picture & TV Industry Employment 2004    2005    2006    2007    2008    2009    2010    10 vs. 09     
Core production jobs (NY Comptroller’s report)  31,517  33,816  34,077  34,050  35,920  35,233  42,942  22%   
Production-related jobs 38,744  41,606  42,306  42,355  43,921  43,092  48,690  13%   
Total production-related jobs (including indirect) 112,214 120,505 122,530 122,674 127,208 124,807 141,021 13%   
Source: Analysis of BLS data, using SIC to NAICS bridge and RIMS II model from Bureau of Economic Analysis[i]

The New York state production incentives have been a boon to production since adoption. The production incentive is a 30% refundable tax credit applied against qualified expenditures.  In addition to the BLS report, the incentives’ success is also measured by the growth in NY projects.  In 2010, the New York Film Incentive program received 91 applications for the incentives, including 71 motion pictures, 6 television pilots and 14 television series.  In 2011, the program had a 66% boost, with 137 applications to date, including 91 motion pictures, 20 television pilots and 26 television series, according to the Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development Website.

So far in 2011, films shot in New York include The Bourne Legacy, Broken City, Men in Black III, and New Year’s Eve, and television series include Blue Bloods, Boardwalk Empire, Damages, Person of Interest, Glee, Gossip Girl, and Pan Am.  As an example of the impact filming has locally, the film Arthur, which shot in New York for 48 days in 2010, spent more than $26 million with local vendors, and made more than 4,300 local hires, including 1,043 crew members.

Mike Jackman, co-chair of New York Production Alliance, an organization of guilds, unions, vendors and individuals representing the film industry in New York, explained how the program benefits the state, “The new job figures released by BLS confirm what all of us working in and around this industry know to be true, that film and television production continues to be a catalyst for New York's economic recovery. It is of no surprise the only dip in job growth came during 2009, a year funding for the New York State incentive briefly ran dry. The New York State Film Credit, created by the legislature and preserved under Governor Cuomo continues to create job opportunities for New Yorkers across the economic spectrum.” 

Speaking to the importance of the tax incentives to labor unions in the city, John Ford, president of IA local 52 said, “On behalf of the men and women at Local 52, we are so pleased by the impact of these programs in terms of real job growth.  The robustness of production in New York means that there is more opportunity and competition for professional studio mechanics, artists and craftspeople.”

Richard Masur, chair of the Screen Actors Guild national legislative committee and former Guild President, agreed stating, “Film tax credits create jobs, stimulate local economies, and keep film productions in-state. Screen Actors Guild members have seen an increase in work due to these credits, including a 30 percent increase in background actor workdays.  These extra days of employment keep actors working and help them to qualify for health insurance and pension benefits."

“States know that film and television production bring increased investment and good jobs, which is why New York put incentives in place and why you see the positive year-after-year growth in this sector,” said Vans Stevenson, Senior Vice President of State Government Affairs at the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA).  He continued, “Competition among states and Canada is fierce for these jobs because they are the kinds of work people want – with benefits and an average salary of $79,000 a year – and that’s why a state like New York focuses on growing this sector of their economy.”

Stevenson also challenged recent claims that the production tax credit was somehow directly impacting funding for public schools, particularly in New York City.  “The assertion that public school students don’t have the educational resources because there is a budget allocation for the production incentive program is intellectually dishonest and factually incorrect,” Stevenson said.  He continued, “For example, in 2009 the motion picture and television production companies spent $5.1 for every $1.00 invested by the state in the program, according to the report on the Empire State Film Production Credit issued August 2010 by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and the New York State Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development. That is a very positive return on investment for state residents and the New York economy.”

Nationwide, the film and television industry contributes in a very real way to the economies of all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The industry in total, including production and distribution, is made up of more than 115,000 businesses, 81 percent of which employ fewer than 10 people. The industry supports more than 2.2 million jobs and generates about $13 billion in taxes and $40 billion in payments to vendors, suppliers and other businesses.  

About the MPAA
The Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries from its offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Its members include: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation; Universal City Studios LLC; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.