The New York State budget includes tax credits, grant programs and other measures aimed at helping restart the Broadway industry.
The budget, which was passed by the State Legislature Wednesday, contains a $100 million tax credit for theatrical productions in New York City, $40 million in grants to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations to aid in recovery from the pandemic and $800 million in grant funding to small businesses, including arts-related businesses and commercial arts organizations.
In addition to funding for organizations, the budget includes $2 million in COBRA subsidies. The Coalition of Broadway Unions and Guilds lobbied the state for inclusion of the health insurance subsidy.
“This is an unprecedented victory and we couldn’t be more pleased,” Actors’ Equity, a member of COBUG, wrote in a tweet.
The $100 million program allows theatrical productions in New York City to receive a tax credit for 25% of qualified expenditures. Per the text of the budget, a tax credit of up to $3 million is available to musicals or theatrical productions that have their first performance in the first year of the program. The credit is capped at $1.5 million for shows that have their first performance in the second year of the program, unless “the New York city tourism economy has not sufficiently recovered.”
The program is similar to the existing Empire State Musical and Theatrical Production Tax Credit Program, which is aimed at shows that conduct technical rehearsals in upstate New York. The 2021 budget has extended that program through 2025 and increased its budget to $8 million from $4 million.
A spokesperson for Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), who worked with a group of Broadway businesses and arts organizations on a Revive and Rebuild proposal for the budget, said in a statement to Broadway News that the senator will ensure productions that use the tax credits honor collective bargaining agreements, amid fears of wage cuts.
The budget also contains provisions that could help the small businesses, such as the Costume Industry Coalition, that authored the Revive and Rebuild Proposal. The $800 million for small business recovery grants can be used for-profit arts and cultural institutions, as well as related businesses, with 100 or less employees that did not qualify for other federal funding, such as Save Our Stages or the Paycheck Protection Program, or are unable to properly use it.
The grants cover rent or mortgage costs, payroll, PPE purchases and other COVID-19 related costs incurred between March 2020 and April 2021.