Budget changes afford theater companies more opportunities

via wikipedia.org

Theater companies outside of New York City will soon have incentives to put on productions due to a $4-million tax credit that was included in the state budget for the 2015 tax year.

The $137.9-billion budget was approved by the Senate and signed in the revenue bill by Gov. Cuomo on March 31. Since the tax credit will start in 2015, tax claims will not be filed until early 2016.

Morris Peters, the press officer from the state Division of the Budget, said the tax credits are only for theaters outside New York City.

“This incentive will encourage theater activities in New York State and will help spur economic activity,” Peters said.

For students like Tisch sophomore Joel Yates, these tax incentives seem to be good news.

“I feel like it will encourage pre-existing producers to find and produce newer works with this incentive,” Yates said. “I also feel that newer producers will be attracted to work in New York which will create a significant increase in new work in the next few years.”

However, Steinhardt sophomore Kathleen Turner said she does not think the tax incentives would affect acting work.

“All it does is encourage the producers to bring their productions to New York to generate money for the state instead of taking it to outside states before coming to the city,” Turner said. “But that’s also a pro, because New York State past the reaches of the city is not as into theater as you would think it should be with the powerhouse that is New York City theater.”

Yates said he had planned on working in New York City, but he was always open to working in other cities.

“I will actively look for opportunities to produce new work in New York City and in other regions,” Yates said. “However, this tax break will definitely be an incentive to stay [in the state].”

While the bill is positive for bringing theater to other cities in New York, Turner said the focus on economic growth instead of art is frustrating.

“Up in Albany they have a disconnect with the arts sometimes as I’ve experienced when working with the [New York State Theatre Education Association],” Turner said. “So it’s awesome that they want to try to bring more theater up there, but at the same time, it’s really frustrating because at the end of the day, this all comes down to a money number instead of the appreciation of the art itself.”

For Yates, the incentives in the budget are encouraging or more than just the performing arts.

“It’s just very exciting for me to hear about the government’s support of the arts,” Yates said. “It’s growth artistically, and it’s increasing longevity.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 8 print edition. Ann Schmidt is a news editor. Email her at aschmidt@nyunews.com. 

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