Bill S3191A-2013

Includes writer salaries and fees within production costs eligible for the empire state film production credit

Includes writer salaries and fees within production costs eligible for the empire state film production credit; defines "writer" as a person employed or retained to write or revise scripts, screen plays, teleplays, dialogue, sketches, routines or narrations.

Details

Actions

  • Feb 7, 2014: PRINT NUMBER 3191A
  • Feb 7, 2014: AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
  • Jan 31, 2013: REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S3191A

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the tax law, in relation to eligibility for the empire state film production credit

PURPOSE:

To include writing fees as an eligible expense to receive a credit under the Empire State Film Production Credit for a movie or television show produced in New York State.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1. Modifies the definition of "qualified production costs" to include writer's fees and services.

Section 2. Defines "writer" for purposes of the Empire State Film Production Credit.

Section 3. Places a cap of $50,000 per writer on the amount of the credit that may be claimed by a qualified taxpayer. Places a cap of five million dollars on the amount of tax credit that may be disbursed for writers.

Section 4. Requires of hiring of a minority or woman writer when more than three writers are hired.

Section 5. This bill shall take effect on April 1, 2015.

JUSTIFICATION:

Many films and television shows are drawn to the unique urban and picturesque landscapes of New York. The Empire State Film Production Credit has created jobs and brought revenue to New York when productions move to or begin in New York and take advantage of the 301, tax credit on qualifying production costs. However, it has not created employment opportunities for the thousands of New York State residents who try to earn their living by writing for television and film.

In 2008, there were 15 major television productions filming in New York State. Collectively, these shows employed 122 writers. Of these 122 writers, only 24 of them live in New York. The remaining writers reside on the West Coast, many in Los Angeles. Some of these writers work on scripts for shows such as Ugly Betty and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, where the City of New York is a main character, without even visiting New York prior to writing an episode. At the same time, many New Yorkers have found it impossible to maintain a career writing for television without leaving the state, uprooting their families and depriving the state of tax revenue.

Currently the Empire State Film Credit does not include writers as a qualified production cost, while Connecticut and Michigan do include writers in their film production tax credits. Canada, the biggest competitor for film and television productions, includes writers in their tax credit as well. Including writers as a qualified production cost will create jobs for New Yorkers as well as preserving New York's

strong tradition as a creative center for entertainment. Both New York State and the film industry have been committed to increasing the presence of minorities and women in film and television. In this light, this bill requires that when three or more writers are hired by an entity seeking such a credit, at least one must be a minority or woman.

The inclusion of writers as a qualified production cost would create new jobs and revenue with little fiscal impact. Although funds for the Empire State Film Production Tax Credit are already allocated, this bill would carve out a small amount of those funds and devote them to writers.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2011-2012: S.3378 - Investigations & Gov Ops 2010: S.6101 - Investigations & Gov Ops; A.8l44 - Ways & Means 2009: S.6101 - Rules; A.8l44 - Ways & Means

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

This bill makes use of funds already allocated to the Empire Film Tax Credit. No additional allocation of funds is required.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act shall take effect April 1, 2015.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3191--A 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 31, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. PARKER, ADDABBO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Government Operations -- recommitted to the Committee on Investi- gations and Government Operations in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the tax law, in relation to eligibility for the empire state film production credit THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Paragraph 2 of subdivision (b) of section 24 of the tax law, as added by section 1 of part P of chapter 60 of the laws of 2004, is amended to read as follows: (2) "Production costs" means any costs for tangible property used and services performed directly and predominantly in the production (includ- ing pre-production and post production) of a qualified film. "Production costs" shall not include [(i) costs for a story, script or scenario to be used for a qualified film and (ii)] wages or salaries or other compensation for writers, directors, including music directors, producers and performers (other than background actors with no scripted lines). WRITERS' FEES AND SALARIES SHALL BE ELIGIBLE PRODUCTION COSTS SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION (C) OF THIS SECTION; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT FEES THAT ARE BASED ON DEFERRED, LEVERAGED OR PROFIT PARTICIPATION COSTS, OR ARE IN EXCESS OF THOSE OTHERWISE PERMITTED BY SUBDIVISION (C) OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE ELIGIBLE PRODUCTION COSTS. "Production costs" generally include technical and crew production costs, such as expenditures for film production facilities, or any part thereof, props, makeup, wardrobe, film processing, camera, sound record- ing, set construction, lighting, shooting, editing and meals. S 2. Subdivision (b) of section 24 of the tax law is amended by adding a new paragraph 9 to read as follows:
(9) "WRITER" MEANS A WRITER EMPLOYED OR RETAINED TO WRITE OR REVISE SCRIPTS, SCREENPLAYS, TELEPLAYS, DIALOGUE, SKETCHES, ROUTINES OR NARRATIONS. S 3. Subdivisions (c), (d) and (e) of section 24 of the tax law are relettered subdivisions (e), (f) and (g) and two new subdivisions (c) and (d) are added to read as follows: (C) FOR A FEATURE FILM OR TELEVISION PRODUCTION WRITERS' FEES AND SALARIES SHALL BE ELIGIBLE COSTS; PROVIDED, HOWEVER, SUCH COSTS SHALL NOT EXCEED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS PER WRITER PER QUALIFIED FILM. PROVIDED, FURTHER, THAT NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF THIS SECTION, A WRITER'S SERVICES SHALL BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE CREDIT UP TO THE MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF THIS SUBDIVISION IF SUCH WRITER IS SUBJECT TO TAXA- TION BY THIS STATE. (D) THE STATE ANNUALLY WILL DISBURSE NO MORE THAN FIVE MILLION DOLLARS IN TAX CREDITS FOR PRODUCTION COSTS FOR WRITERS FEES AND SALARIES PURSU- ANT TO THIS SECTION. SUCH CREDITS SHALL ONLY BE AVAILABLE FROM CREDITS ALLOWED FOR PRODUCTION COSTS AS DEFINED AND GOVERNED BY THIS SECTION. S 4. The tax law is amended by adding a new section 24-a to read as follows: S 24-A. DIVERSITY IN HIRING FOR WRITERS. WHERE MORE THAN THREE WRITERS ARE TO BE HIRED OR RETAINED FOR SERVICE ON AN ELIGIBLE PRODUCTION, CRED- ITS FOR WRITER COSTS AUTHORIZED PURSUANT TO SECTION TWENTY-FOUR OF THIS ARTICLE SHALL ONLY BE GRANTED WHERE AT LEAST ONE SUCH WRITER IS A MINOR- ITY GROUP MEMBER, AS DEFINED BY SUBDIVISION EIGHT OF SECTION THREE HUNDRED TEN OF THE EXECUTIVE LAW, OR A WOMAN. S 5. This act shall take effect April 1, 2015.

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