Bay Ridge

Pols push tax credit for recording studios

Legislation would also cover digital game developers

July 14, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Marty Golden (at podium) and Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (left) sponsored thetax credit legislation. Photo-courtesy-of-Golden’s office
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More than a decade ago, New York State approved a measure to offer tax credits to the film and television industry in an effort to lure film production here. The result was phenomenally successful, according to two Brooklyn lawmakers who are now are urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation they sponsored to extend the same tax break to the music and digitalgame industries.

State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) and Assemblymember JosephLentol (D-Greenpoint-Williamsburg-North Brooklyn) held a press conference outside City Hallon July 12 to urge Cuomo to sign their bill, which was approved by both houses of the stateLegislature last month.

The lawmakers were joined by leaders of New York is Music (NYIM), a coalition of 200 music-related organizations, as well as representatives of the digital gaming industry.

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The tax credit bill would help revive the recording industry in New York State, according toLentol, who said New York has been steadily losing business to other states due to the high costsof renting studios and other factors.

“We used to take for granted that we were the epicenter of the music industry. We were wrong,”Lentol said. “During the past decade, our state has witnessed a flight of recording studios,technicians, artists and songwriters to states across the country. Unless we want New York’s music economy to continue its slide into mediocrity we must take a stand.”

The legislation would provide $25 million in tax credits for music production, including musicvideo production, starting in 2017.

“I am so confident that this legislation will achieve its goal, and provide the leadership wedesperately need in New York to grow these two dynamic sectors that deserve to have the Empire State as their global centers,” Golden said. Tom Foulkes, vice president of state government affairs for the Entertainment Software Association, which represents the video game industry, said the innovative sector is a job-creating engine. The legislation “will increase opportunities for highly-skilled and well-educatedvideo game industry employees in the state,” he said.

Under the legislation, the music industry tax credit would allow business owners to recoup expenses related to studio rental fees; instrument and equipment rental fees; and fees related tothe hiring of musicians, programmers, engineers, and technicians.

The bill would also keep New York competitive with other states and cities, including Toronto,Los Angeles, New Orleans and Nashville that have lured away the industry, Golden and Lentol said.

“This legislation sponsored by Senator Golden and Assemblyman Lentol will send a strongmessage that New York is prepared to reclaim its rightful place as the music capital of theworld,” Ben Allison, president of the Recording Academy’s New York chapter.


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