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Guv ups film tax credit, giving LIC studios boost

BY NATHAN DUKE

The governor said he will increase the tax credit, which was signed into law in 2004, from $25 million to $35 million annually in the governor's budget, beginning in 2009. He also said the tax credit, which was set to expire in 2008, will be made permanent. Joined by television stars Regis Philbin, Kelly Ripa and Mykelti Williamson, Silvercup Studios CEOs Alan and Stuart Suna, and several television producers and directors, Pataki unveiled the increases to the tax credit on the set of “Kidnapped,” a television pilot produced by NBC Universal Television and Sony Pictures Television, at Silvercup Studios.”By increasing the incentives to a program that already brings new films and television shows to New York state, we will continue to encourage expansion in an industry that generates billions of dollars a year in economical impact and creates thousands of new jobs across the state,” Pataki said.The governor's action will also allow the city to increase the cap on the Made in New York Incentive Program, which grants tax breaks, marketing credits and other benefits to television shows and films that complete 75 percent of their production in the city. Beginning in 2009, Made in New York will see an increase from $12.5 million to $30 million annually. Pataki said he has seen films set in New York in recent years, but often did not recognize the scenery because they were shot in Vancouver, Toronto and Los Angeles, where it is cheaper to produce film. He said the Empire State Film Production Credit has already significantly boosted production in the city and state in the past two years and that increases will bring the film industry back to New York.”This isn't an experiment- it's law and it's going to be here for a long, long time,” Pataki said. “No longer will we not recognize the parts of New York we see on TV.” Since the incentive was enacted in 2004, 53 feature films, 18 television series and seven television pilots have benefited from the credit, resulting in $1.45 billion and 12,000 jobs generated for the state, the governor said. Similarly, Alan Suna said Silvercup has seen an enormous boost in production at the studio this year and that production stages are often booked far in advance.Kokak, the state's biggest manufacturer of film stock, has also seen a 40 percent increase in sales to companies shooting feature films in New York since the incentive was first signed into law by the governor in 2004, according to the governor's office.Television stars and producers and Silvercup executives praised the increased tax credit and said it will help the city retain its reputation as one of the world's film capitals.”I've never worked outside of this city and I don't ever see myself working outside of this city,” Ripa said. “It's the greatest place in the world to work.”Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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