Lalor: Viacom Lays Off NY Employees While Taking Tax Dollars

By Kieran Lalor, on Mar 25, 2015
East Fishkill, NY - (3/24/15) - Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - East Fishkill) is again calling on the legislature and Governor Cuomo to end the $420 million in yearly tax subsidies for Hollywood after Viacom announced it is cutting 264 employees in New York. Viacom received about $340,000 in tax credits for TV production in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone. The state has yet to release full details on all of the tax credits issued. The limited information made available by the Cuomo administration does not include films produced by Viacom subsidiary Paramount Pictures that likely run the tax subsidy total well into the millions.

"Subsidizing Hollywood with tax dollars is bad policy," said Lalor. "Sony cut 264 permanent well-paying jobs. The jobs 'created' with the Hollywood tax credit are often part-time jobs. Sometimes Governor Cuomo even touts the extras hired by films as jobs 'created'. Even worse, Viacom buys influence and these subsidies through large campaign contributions. Viacom's CEO is one of Governor Cuomo's top donors. Cuomo's corporate welfare for his friends isn't creating jobs. We need across-the-board tax cuts for all New Yorkers, including the ones who aren't at the top of Cuomo's donor list."

In 2013, Governor Cuomo's own tax reform commission acknowledged that the Hollywood tax credits are not working. Cuomo's commission reported, "The film production credit, now generally 30 percent of qualifying costs, is large relative to industry profits and tax liability. Because the credit exceeds tax liability many times over and is refundable, in effect it is a program of cash payments by the state to credit recipients... It is not clear from our analysis that there is sufficient justification for the size of the film credits. The state should consider scaling back the credits and monitoring the film industry closely to determine the impact on its activities of such a cutback."

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