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Just got this press release from New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson 's office:



-Urges the State to continue financing the Empire State Tax Credit Program-


New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. today called on Governor Paterson to provide needed funding to the Empire State Tax Credit Program, an incentive program aimed to strengthen New York City and New York State's vitally important film production industry.


In a letter to the Governor, which can be viewed at www.comptroller.nyc.gov, Thompson says the elimination of State funding will weaken the film production industry, which employs 30,000 people directly, and an estimated 70,000 indirectly in related fields.


"In recognition of this fact, last spring the State properly extended this tax credit through 2013. Unfortunately, the State has declined to provide sufficient funds to sustain this important program.  Particularly, at this difficult economic time we simply can not afford to risk driving this important employment base out of our region," Thompson wrote.


Comptroller Thompson noted that in 2008, the first year the incentive program was instituted, the number of shooting days in New York City averaged 30,500, compared to an average of less than 20,000 in the years from 1993 to 2005. 


In addition, Thompson also explained the benefits of such a program to the City at a time of fiscal uncertainty. 


"While it may seem counter-intuitive to increase funding for a tax credit during a fiscal crisis, this program has been successful in increasing employment and providing a boost to a host of local businesses - from caterers to costumers - that serve the film industry," Thompson said.  "Furthermore, the television shows and movies that are shot here create free advertising for the attractions of our City and State."


Thompson warned of the possibility that New York would lose productions to other locales due to the elimination of the credit.  In addition, he explained that by helping the movie and production industry operate in New York with this program, the State is taking measures to help diversify the economy.


"We are all aware of our need to diversify our economy, which became perilously dependant on Wall Street in recent years.  New York State and New York City are attractive to producers for a variety of reasons, including the concentration of actors and artists, our extensive transportation network, and the diversity and geography of our neighborhoods," Thompson wrote.  "But in an industry where costs matter and substitute locations can be found quickly, these attributes themselves are not enough to secure our position as a pre-eminent location to film.  I urge you to provide additional funding to this program and preserve this crucial industry."

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