A new $100 million tax credit to encourage and support the reopening of Broadway was launched today with an announcement by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“New York is not ‘New York’ without theater,” Cuomo said, in part, on today’s launch of the New York City Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit, a two-year program designed to support the entertainment and tourism industries in New York City by offsetting some of the costs associated with producing a show.
Among the production costs covered by the program are sets, costumes, wardrobes, makeup, technical support, salaries, sound, lighting and staging. Eligible companies can receive tax credits of 25% of qualified production expenditures, with first-year program applicants receiving up to $3 million per production and second-year applications being eligible for up to $1.5 million.
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According to the state’s website, all program participants will be required to take part in a New York State diversity and arts job training program “and expand opportunities for low-income New Yorkers to access productions at low or no-cost.”
“Theatrical productions support thousands of jobs and showcase performances and artists that reflect our state’s great talent and diversity,” Cuomo said in the statement. “With the state’s coronavirus restrictions lifted, these tax credits will help to restart this quintessentially New York industry more quickly.”
Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, said in a statement that Cuomo’s announcement comes at a “perfect moment” and described the tax credit as an “unprecedented initiative” that will “increase access to Broadway shows for New York State residents and create new career pathways in our industry.”
“We’re gratified for the Governor’s enthusiastic support of Broadway and investment in the industry’s workforce,” she added, “which are so vital to the economic and cultural health of New York State.”
The program was first announced in April as part of the fiscal year 2022 budget, specifically as part of a comprehensive $1 billion package of economic recovery initiatives. In launching the tax . credit initiative today, the state cited statistics indicating that, prior to the pandemic, Broadway theaters welcomed a collective audience of nearly 250,000 people each week, supporting more than 90,000 local jobs and contributing more than $14 billion annually to the New York City economy.
“While the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic were felt by all, it was particularly damaging to New York’s performance artists and the entire entertainment community,” said Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler today. “The greater theater ecosystem includes so many businesses, from companies directly involved in production to the nearby restaurants that complete the ‘dinner and a show’ experience. Innovative programs like the New York City Musical and Theatrical Tax Credit will help rebuild this crucial piece of our economy, while supporting the businesses and employees that depend on live performances.”
According to the Empire State Development website, productions deemed “highly successful” – i.e., “showing ongoing revenues more than two times their ongoing production costs after receiving a tax credit” – will be required to contribute to the NYS Council for The Arts Cultural Program Fund, up to 50% of the tax credit.