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New York leads the nation in handing out subsidies to Hollywood

Nov 09, 2017 3:15 pm
Joseph Spector reports in USA Today that New York spent $420 million in 2016 on tax breaks for the movie industry, the most of any state in the nation. By contrast, the $350 million Georgia spent was second, and California was third with $330 million in tax breaks for filmmakers. Of New York's spending, $22 million went for FOX's Gotham television series. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is currently planning his fourth fundraising trip to California since taking office in 2011 and he has received about $1.3 million in contributions from film interests according to the story. "Taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars should not be used to subsidize sexual assault," said New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who introduced a bill after the movie producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of multiple accounts of sexual harassment and assault recently. Her bill would end tax breaks in New York for companies that have a history of sexual harassment. Variety reported that earlier this year the latest state budget included a three-year extension of the Film Production Tax Credit program. “The figures do not appear to be audited — everyone is taking everyone else’s word for it,” said Michael Thom, a USC public policy professor who has studied film tax breaks nationwide, earlier this year in The Village Voice. There have now been multiple state-level studies of film subsidies, he says, and “all of them come to this conclusion it’s a negative return on investment.”