Weekly Feature

2018-01-11 / Letters to the Editor

Repeal of film tax credits would be foolish mistake

Bill No. 6968, introduced by state Sen. Rob Ortt, R-62nd District, and co-sponsored by Fred Akshar, R- 52nd District, is intended to repeal the New York State Film Production Tax Credit, which provides financial incentives to production companies that shoot their films and TV shows in our state.

The incentive program enjoys bipartisan support and has a proven track record, so it is unlikely to pass. Empire State Development Corp. reports that in 2017, the program generated $3.8 billion in New York State spending and created 227,561 new hires, on a $420 million budget. According to Buffalo-Niagara Film Commissioner Tim Clark, approximately 4,000 locals were hired to work on “The Purge 4” last fall.

Ortt’s bill, which will hurt some of his own constituents if passed, is an act of grandstanding political theater, performed with little research into its impact on thousands of Western New Yorkers.

While we wait for the bill to die or suffer defeat, the threat of its passage has already cost our region one film and all of the jobs and additional revenue associated with it. An out-of-town production team responsible for making seven features here intended to shoot an eighth this winter, the slow season for freelancers like myself due to the weather, but decided to shoot it in Los Angeles instead because of uncertainty over the incentive program’s future. Cast, crew, camera rental companies, hotels, restaurants, caterers and other WNY vendors will now lose income that will go to West Coast counterparts.

How many more films and jobs will we lose over Ortt’s foolish bill?

Greg Lamberson
Kensington Avenue

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