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New York City Tax Break Brief

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In what seemed like a quick quid pro quo, on December 15 NBC put some icing on the tax-break cake newly baked by New York City’s government.A day after the New York City Council passed by a 48-1 vote a five-percent incentive to attract more movie and television production to the Big Apple, NBC Universal Television Group president Jeff Zucker said the network had in the past 24 hours decided to relocate the shoot of a new television pilot from Toronto to New York City. The pilot is for NY 70, a police show that takes place in New York City. If the pilot is successful, the series will also be shot in Gotham.New York City’s new five-percent refundable tax credit comes on top of a 10-percent New York State incentive passed in Albany last August for productions that do 75 percent of their stage and location work in New York. That combined total of 15 percent provides New York with one of the biggest tax-break lures among the steadily increasing number of states that are angling to attract Hollywood productions.New York already has an advantage because of its numerous production facilities and the large pool of actors and other accomplished film and television professionals that live in the New York region, but the subsidies are a powerful plus when set against the area’s other costs.To stress the tax-break connection, Zucker made the announcement standing on the steps of City Hall flanked by executives of the city’s three big studios—Silvercup, Kaufman-Astoria and recently launched Steinberg—along with leaders of all the major show biz unions, and several city council members.Zucker, in making the announcement, said the cops-show pilot may be the first of many more productions headed NYC’s way in the wake of the new tax breaks.“There’s a number of scripts we’re looking at that, if greenlit, would also be perfect to be shot here in New York City and this will make it much more likely that that will happen as well,” Zucker said. “So this is going to have a real and immediate effect, certainly at NBC Universal in the business that we do, and I’m sure in the entire entertainment industry.”NBC Universal (a unit of General Electric) has been one of the biggest entertainment companies actively lobbying for the new legislation. Recently the company’s theatrical film division decided to shoot the movie version of The Producers, the Mel Brooks musical smash, in New York City instead of Toronto.Douglas Steiner, president of Steiner Equities, which just finished building Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where The Producers will shoot, estimated the combined city and state tax credits could generate new revenues of $2 billion over the next four years for New York City.

Written by Jack Egan

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