Good-government advocates and progressive organizations are trying to convince New York lawmakers to reject an expansion of subisides for a variety of industries in the state budget this year.
Supporters of the subsidies have argued the tax incentives will help grow and expand jobs and industries, including film, TV and Broadway production in the state. But opponents contend there is little evdience the tax breaks create jobs or spur meaningful economic activity.
The debate is coming to a head this month as Gov. Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers negotiate a proposed $227 billion state budget. Hochul's proposal made last month would expand the size of the state's $420 million tax credit program for film and TV projects to $700 million a year while also trying to encourage more TV shows to re-locate to the state.
“We need the Legislature to press the pause button and freeze any new tax credits that the Governor has proposed in the Executive Budget," said Ron Deutsch, director of New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness. "We already spend over $10 billion in state and local funds on corporate giveaways and it’s not time to spend billions more on those discredited programs."
Groups opposed to the tax breaks in the state, including the national organization, Fight Corporate Monopolies, have paid for billboard space on Albany's I-787 opposing the measures.
Yet, lawmakers are not necessarily opposed to the provisions in the budget. State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has been supportive of the film and TV industry in New York, telling reporters in February he visited the set of the CBS show "The Equalizer."
"I was amazed by the diversity of people of color and women working on that show," he said. "I want to make sure New York is a very inviting place for the film industry."