New York’s film and television production tax credits supported 28,900 jobs in the state and generated $6.9 billion in economic activity last year, according to a new study commissioned by Hollywood's main lobbying group.
Overall, the state's film and television production industry grew by 25 percent between 2008 to 2011 despite the fact that the country was mired in recession, the study's authors write. During that period, economic activity across the state declined by 1.6 percent.
The research and report was conducted by economic development consultants HR&A Advisors and was paid for by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which has been a major supporter of production tax credits across the country. New York began offering production tax credits in 2004 and has handed out more than $1 billion in benefits. Last summer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that increased production credits from 10 percent to 30 percent for films that shot in New York state and raised the benefit to 35 percent for post-production work done in the state.
Opponents of tax credits have argued that local film production rarely has the positive economic impact that states hope and that they tend to dole out more tax revenue than they take in from productions. Groups such as the MPAA counter that the New York experience is a model for how these incentives are intended to work and foster new industries around the film business.
“These findings further confirm that the New York State production incentives have grown into a major economic driver in the state’s economy,” Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement. “Not only does film and television production in New York employ the thousands of men and women working on some of the most popular television shows and films, it also supports small businesses in every sector of the economy — dry cleaners, restaurants, florists — who benefit when a production comes to town.”
Of the jobs sustained by New York based films and shows like "Girls" and "Boardwalk Empire," 12,600 jobs were directly associated with productions and 16,300 were supported in related businesses. The study says that productions that utilized the credits spent $1.5 billion on goods and services in New York, up from $600 million in 2004.
Further, the study says that the incentives helped generate $4.2 billion in personal income to the New York economy in 2011.
Since 2004, the number of productions participating in the program has jumped from a total of 18 productions in 2004 to 135 productions in 2011.