To the Editor:
As a restaurant owner in New York, I appreciate the National Small Business Week focus on businesses like ours. It’s good to give a shout-out to all those entrepreneurs and small businesses that keep our communities running.
But I want to use this opportunity to take a look at what keeps our small businesses in business. For many of us in the New York area, that is the New York State Film Tax Credit Program. It is designed to strengthen our state’s film production industry and its positive impact on our economy. I want to help educate people on the film tax credit and why it’s so important for me and my family.
The program encourages companies to film projects in New York instead of taking their production to another state or country. Production companies may be eligible to receive 30 percent of qualified production costs and post-production costs incurred in New York State when they film a project here.
That incentive has brought big productions to our area, including Girls, Girl on the Train, The Good Wife, The Blacklist and Royal Pains.
When these productions come, they bring business for all of us, not just those directly involved in the filming process.
For example, I own and operate a mom-and-pop restaurant in Long Island City. The fact of the matter is that the film industry has kept my business afloat through some of the hardest times. These productions bring people to our area, and people need to eat—and that is what keeps my business thriving. Without the tax credit, I don’t think I’d be able to stay in business.
When a small, vocal group shut down filming on Vernon Boulevard, I advocated to have that ban removed, so we could continue to benefit from the film industry using our neighborhood for locations in their projects. This is important to our livelihood.
I urge our governor and our legislature—and all candidates who are running for office—to continue supporting New York’s production tax incentive program. I know the tax credit is set to expire soon. During National Small Business Week and always, please consider the needs of those of us who rely on film tax credits. Please do your part to keep our small businesses in business.
Gianna Cerbone Teoli,
Long Island City