State of incentives: New York

Both New York state’s 30% tax incentives and New York City’s “Made in NY” 5% tax credit are in trouble, and added to that is a proposal to charge the largest fees in the U.S. for filming in New York City-owned buildings.

New York’s “Made in NY” 5% tax credit is out of money, having reached its full allocation of $192.5 million June 30.

New legislation calls for downsizing the 5% tax credit to 4% and reducing it further over the life of a TV show, capping the amount a production can get.

New York state’s $350 million, one-year extension of its successful 30% tax incentive program will expire March 31, 2010. With a state budget deficit that could reach $4.1 billion this year, it is unlikely it will be refunded at the same level, Crain’s New York Business reported.

At the same time, the Mayor’s Film Office is planning to void its famous free permits and charge a fee of $3,200 to shoot on facilities under the jurisdiction of the Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services.

The new fees are likely to go into effect in the next couple of months, after a public hearing process is completed. In the meantime, the Mayor’s Film Office has drawn up a plan to charge for some of its services, like issuing permits to film on the streets, if its $1.8 million budget is cut.

New York’s production boom has been one of the state’s few bright spots in the recession. Some seven features, including “Sex in the City 2” and “Wall Street 2” and 16 TV shows are currently in production in the city.

The production industry added 800 jobs in 2008, while most sectors posted job losses. And according to a 2007 Ernst & Young study, the state and city collected $2.7 billion in taxes from movie and TV productions, while laying out only $690 million in tax credits.

Said a Queens assemblyman, “We have the single most successful economic development program in recent history, and we’re nickel-and-diming it when we should be fully funding it and making it a long-term proposition.”