New York Backs TV Production Tax Break for Hiring Diverse Writers, Directors

The New York State legislature has passed a bill that would provide tax incentives for hiring diverse writers and directors for TV productions in New York, according to the unions that have been pushing the legislation.

The bill was backed by the Writers Guild of America, East (based in New York) and the Directors Guild of America.

Related > The Production Issue

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo still needs to approve the new tax credit, and it must be included in the state budget, but the passage was a milestone being hailed by WGAE and DGA.

"People in the TV industry have understood for years that enhancing the diversity of writing and directing improves the stories that appear on screen,” said Lowell Peterson, executive director of WGAE in a joint statement. “The missing link for policymakers has been putting money at the point of hire, and this legislation is an important step in that direction.”

Neil Dudich, eastern executive director of the DGA, said: "For years the DGA has pushed the industry to change their imbalanced hiring practices -- so that talent, and talent alone, is the defining factor. By encouraging studios, networks and producers to discover the talented New York TV directors and writers that are out there in abundance, this bill can be a meaningful step forward in establishing a level playing field for all."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.