A whopping $472 million dollars has been handed to film and TV companies to make productions in New York, with HBO topping the list with more than $91 million in subsidies, NBC coming in second with more than $83 million in subsidies and Rupert Murdoch's FOX receiving more than $52 million in subsidies.
Spector reports that the tax breaks can add up to 30% of total production costs and come at a price:
Critics said the money for the shows should be used instead to repair the state's infrastructure and fund services.
"Our roads and bridges are crumbling, and yet we're subsidizing Hollywood millionaires to do television productions. It does not make any sense," said Assemblyman Bill Nojay, R-Pittsford.
Conklin Supervisor Jim Finch said his Southern Tier town received $3 million when 500 people were displaced and 200 homes were destroyed in tropical storms Irene and Lee in 2012.
"That's baloney," Finch said when told of the money for Orange is the New Black. "They already make all the millions on the movies, and we get nothing back from the profits."
Before 2013, the state was able to keep the tax subsidy information private, but that changed with a new law passed in 2013.
Governor Cuomo has done quite well with donations from Hollywood movie moguls and the like, as reported by Bloomberg News back in September 2014:
Sept. 15 (Bloomberg) -- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who added $2.1 billion to an incentive program for the movie and television industry, has collected almost $900,000 in campaign contributions from Hollywood since taking office in 2011.
Cuomo, who lured NBC’s “The Tonight Show” back to New York City from Los Angeles, collected $121,600 from Comcast Corp. and its NBCUniversal unit, campaign-finance records show. Paramount Pictures Corp. Chairman Brad Grey gave $35,000, while Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. Chief Executive Officer Michael Lynton and nine other executives donated a combined $45,200. Paramount’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” and Sony’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” are among productions that took advantage of New York’s tax-credit program, the most generous in the U.S.
“What makes this industry more special than any industry that would invest here if you paid them to do it?” said E.J. McMahon, president of the Empire Center for New York State Policy in Albany, which opposes government subsidies. “The difference is, well, it’s high-profile and it’s really glamorous. And oh, incidentally, it’s run by people who are really savvy, generous political givers too.”
Cuomo, a 56-year-old Democrat, who ran for governor vowing to clean up Albany’s pay-to-play culture of corruption by limiting contributions, has instead reaped the benefits of a system that allows individuals to give as much as $150,000 per year -- and even more through limited-liability corporations. Federal prosecutors are also probing the Cuomo administration’s effort to stymie investigations by an anti-corruption committee he created and then disbanded before its term was finished.
In addition, Cuomo got a book deal out of the Rupert Murdoch-owned HarperCollins that is worth somewhere between $700,000 and $880,000 dollars, with $188,000 already paid to Cuomo.
Cuomo refuses to reveal the book contract and won't say what the final total of compensation will be.
The book has sold fewer than 3,000 copies.
David Sirota at IBTimes reported that Murdoch's News Corp received millions in tax breaks out of the Cuomo administration after lobbying both before and after the book contract.
Add the film and TV production subsidies that Murdoch-owned FOX received to the tax breaks that Murdoch-owned News Corp received and there's enough money going from the Cuomo administration to Rupert Murdoch and then going from Rupert Murdoch back to Andrew Cuomo himself to make someone go "Hmmm...."
The Hollywood/Cuomo connections needs more scrutiny, that's for sure.