De Blasio backs incentives for movie, TV production
Mayor Bill de Blasio, a frequent critic of government-sponsored subsidies for businesses, said Friday he supports tax breaks to lure movie and television producers to New York City and keep them there.
Introducing documentary producer Cynthia López as his new commissioner of the Office of Media & Entertainment, de Blsaio said he believes that the city has reaped jobs and tax revenue from entertainment subsidies.
"In other areas, we see an unfortunate history of the subsidies not yielding the result," de Blasio said, after a tour of Steiner Studios in Brooklyn. "This is the polar opposite."
During his mayoral campaign last year, de Blasio railed against Bloomberg-era tax breaks, such as those for real estate development, that de Blasio says tend not to produce the promised benefits for the city. Friday, though, de Blasio had little but praise for his predecessor's handling of the film office.
The state offers a host of tax breaks for movies and television producers, including a 30 percent refundable tax credit on expenses and an exemption on sales tax.
New York State gives about $420 million a year in subsidies, according to The Los Angeles Times. In California, there are calls to spend more for Hollywood to beat back New York.
"With apologies to my good friend Eric Garcetti, mayor of L.A. -- sorry that we are ever more attractive for the industry," de Blasio said.
Garcetti's office could not be reached for comment.
New York and California are the nation's top draws for entertainment, according to Motion Picture Association of America spokesman TJ Ducklo.
California is still ahead of New York. While New York hosted 149 movies and 161 TV series, California had 268 movies and 359 series, according to association figures.
De Blasio said he personally lobbied CBS president and chief executive Leslie Moonves to keep "The Late Show," which films in the Ed SullivanTheater on Broadway, in New York City once David Letterman passes the torch to Stephen Colbert.
"We would do everything in our power to make that they stay," López said.
López, 49, a Sunset Park, Brooklyn, native, will be paid $192,198 as commissioner. She is currently executive vice president and co-executive producer of public television's POV documentary series.
"New York is open for business, whether you're a $10,000 production or a $100 million production," López said.
She succeeds Katherine Oliver, who served under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg since 2002.