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State Bill Would Carve Out Tax Credits for Women, Minority Writers

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Albany/HV: State Bill Would Carve Out Tax Credits for Women, Minority Writers
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While many movies and televisions shows have been filmed and taped in New York state, most made here do not have New York writers. That could soon change if a new bill in Albany passes.

NEW YORK -- The state has successfully kept TV and film production in the state with a series of tax credits. But Law and Order SVU is one of the few shows where the writers are based in New York. Most other scripted dramas get written by people outside the state.

"The industry is doing really well in New York. The tax credit has brought billions of dollars of economic activity. Lots of jobs. The only people it hasn't helped is writers," said Lowell Peterson, of Writers Guild of America.

A bill in Albany would carve out a tax credit specifically for minority and women writers. Roughly three and a half million dollars out of a total of four hundred and twenty million dollars.

"We are not talking about adding more money, we are just talking about carving out from a pot of money that is already there. So it won't cost the state any more money. It won't cost the city any more money," said Keith Wright, D-Manhattan.

Since Cuomo made promises to the left wing over his party over the weekend in order to secure the Working Families Party ballot line, and all but declared war on the Republican-led Senate, there hasn't exactly been a spirit of bi-partisanship in Albany. But this particular bill has Republican support and could be one of the few things that gets done before the end of the legislative session.

Republican Senator Kemp Hannon is the prime Republican sponsor. Supporters of the bill are optimistic it can pass both houses.

I have never seen a bill in my 22 years that everyone seems to be in agreement on. I have not heard one 'no,'" Wright said.

Experts said the film and TV industry is rather insular with people who do the hiring often using only the people they know. That has led to a lack of diversity, which is what supporters of the tax credit are hoping to correct.

"It's really hard for New York writers to find work. It's particularly hard for New York writers who are women or people of color," Peterson said.

More New York writers would presumably mean more New York stories, which could be helpful in growing the industry here even further. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP