|With Harvey Weinstein and New York film commissioner Katherine Oliver by his side, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced plans Wednesday to allocate $30 million a year for the city's film and television tax incentive program through 2011. The move increases the annual allotment from the $12.5 million-a-year pilot program, which met its cap three years ahead of schedule in March.|
The initiative will be negotiated in the next few weeks with the City Council. Bloomberg's announcement comes after the state Legislature overrode Gov. George Pataki's veto of a 2007 budget revenue package that included the state's new $60 million annual tax credit bill.
Pataki always expressed support for the bill but objected to some of the surrounding legislation. His decision not to fight the override effectively turned it into law and allowed the city to opt into the program.
Speaking on location in Tribeca during the Weinstein Co. production of "The Nanny Diaries," Bloomberg cited a list of statistics from what he called "The Bloomie Diaries." He noted that last year there were 31,570 production-shooting days in the city, up 35% from 2004 and double 2002's number.
Bloomberg said that not only would qualifying film and TV productions earn a 5% city rebate and a 10% state rebate but also free advertising on bus shelters and in other venues throughout the city. "It really is critical to reduce our reliance on Wall Street" for revenue, he said.
Weinstein, presented with a "Made in N.Y." T-shirt by the mayor, said "Nanny Diaries" would have been shot in Toronto without the incentive. He added that the "spillover" effect of the program will keep more video and technology companies in the city.
"I've been in Beijing and backwater provinces of Romania to shoot movies about New York City" before the program began, Weinstein said. His company is producing the third season of "Project Runway" locally with Bravo and Miramax.
Councilmen David Yassky and David Weprin, who joined Bloomberg at the news conference, said they anticipate no resistance to the mayor's proposal.
As for the possibility that the program could once again meet its cap ahead of schedule, Julianne Cho, assistant commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, said, "It was clear we needed more money, and we've carefully measured how much we needed."
Oliver responded to reports that Dick Wolf's television productions like "Law & Order" were taking up the bulk of the tax incentives with unbridled enthusiasm for the show. "We are thrilled that 'Law & Order' is here," she said. "That one show employs more than 1,200 people," though at an April 26 conference, she emphasized that the main purpose of the program was to attract new productions.
Wolf was happy with the decision. "New York's production future is now brighter than ever," he said.
City officials also suggested that they would look to match the state's recent addition of a commercial incentive. "We are committed to seeing legislation that supports the commercial industry in a way that makes sense for the city," Oliver said, "and look forward to reviewing the proposed program."