The Bronx Chamber of Commerce supported for the extension of tax credits to the television and film industry. Thanks in part to their efforts the 2009-10 budget included $350 million for the New York State Film Production Tax Credit program.
A TV show called Life on Mars, was recently shot on City Island’s streets. Chamber C.E.O. Lenny Caro said having the film crews there contributed to local economy. This included purchasing meals at local restaurants, gas for their vehicles, and other merchandise from stores up and down City Island.
Caro said this illustrates the very real economic impact that the industry has on the Bronx and the rest of the city. He feels that if the credits for film and television production were eliminated away, industry would leave for Canada and other locations.
“The film and television industry generated about 19,000 jobs in 2007,” Caro said. “The reality is this industry generates income for the city. When crews come in to do a shoot, they patronize local businesses – whether it is a restaurant, car wash, or dry cleaner. This is generating income for small business, and tax revenue in the Bronx and other boroughs.”
Caro recently went to Albany with the chamber of commerce to lobby for the retention of film and television industry credits. He wound up on national television.
“I think that tax credits for the television and film industry benefits the Bronx and the entire city,” said Joseph Kelleher, chairman of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. “If they were not in place, the industry might go somewhere else. The amount of jobs created by the industry and the revenue the city takes in because of its presence makes keeping it worthwhile.”
While filming on city streets does benefit local business and the city’s tax base, it is not universally accepted by all neighborhoods. Some find the filming inconvenient. Nevertheless, it is very hard to deny that having a film shot does have some positive effects for some businesses.
“I would say it can be beneficial for some businesses,” stated Violet Ellis of the City Island Chamber of Commerce. “Some businesses do generate extra income from [the filming].”
On April 1, the new NYS budget kept $350 million for the industry. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spoke of its importance.
“The technical experts of the film and television industry – set designers, makeup artists, lighting and prop crews – play an important role in our state’s economy,” Silver said. “It is important that during this economic downturn we provide incentives that help sustain thousands of well-paying jobs in the film industry.”