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Kathy Hochul wants to increase ‘excruciating’ tax credit for her Hollywood donors to $700 million

Kathy Hochul wants to increase ‘excruciating’ tax credit for her Hollywood donors to $700 million


Governor Kathy Hochul is proposing to extend and expand a tax break for film and TV productions as part of the record $227 billion budget she proposed on Wednesday – months after taking big money from Hollywood while running for a full term.

“It’s just atrocious and terribly bad public policy,” John Kaehny, executive director of good government group Reinvent Albany, told The Post.

“It’s a very public display of how pay-to-play and special interest policies are completely distorting how government works here and how our tax dollars are spent.”

The the newly elected governor proposes increasing the controversial tax relief from $420 million to $700 million in the fiscal year that begins April 1 while extending the credit for another five years to 2034.

Productions would also see state rebates increase from 25% to 30% of their total eligible costs.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul hopes to expand film and TV tax credits as part of her fad new budget.

Such a move would supposedly protect 57,000 jobs in the state while making New York more competitive with states like New Jersey as they expand their own advantages to attract productions.

“The proposed enhancement to the movie tax credit will grow the film industry and keep New York competitive in this very important sector of our economy that has generated more than $20 billion in spending and created 57,300 direct jobs. and informants in the Empire State,” a spokesperson for Empire State Development, which oversees the tax credit, said.

It would benefit a litany of Hollywood luminaries like filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who gave the maximum $47,100 to his campaign last year, as well as his wife Kate Capshaw, about a year after taking advantage of the tax credit while realizing “West Side Story.”

Some lawmakers are skeptical of Hochul’s proposal to keep the tax credit this long.

The state is currently undergoing an independent audit of economic development spending to determine which programs are providing a return on taxpayers’ investment and which are not. It would be more responsible to freeze annual spending on these programs until the audit is complete at the end of this year,” said Sen. James Skoufis (D-Newburgh).

Hochul claimed that his fundraising did not affect his tax judgment.

“Nothing I do in a budget is driven by politics, election results. I’m guided by what’s best for New Yorkers,” she told reporters. Wednesday.

Previous research suggests that the tax credit has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars over the past two decades.

Steven Spielberg
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg is among the Hollywood bigwigs who gave Hochul big money while benefiting from the controversial tax credit
Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

“Since 2004, New York State has allocated $7.8 billion in tax incentives to the film and television industry, almost enough to build two Mario Mr. Cuomo bridges or two Freedom Towers” , we read in a press release. 2020 study by the good governance group Citizens Budget Commission. “But despite sustained and growing investment, the movie tax credit has not produced enough value for New Yorkers and should be phased out.”

That Hochul sticks to merit, despite the growing body of research on its effectiveness, raises a troubling question, according to Reinvent Albany.

“Either his advisers are grossly misinformed or his administration is totally cynical and swimming in money to gamble,” read a statement from the group.




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