Legislative Alert: February 1, 2019

President's Message

Empire State Film Tax Credit Creates Union Jobs

The New York State Film and Television Tax Credit is a unique program that has made New York a leader in global competition for movie and television production and puts tens of thousands of New York union members to work each year. We urge the Legislature to include an extension to the Film and Television Tax Credit Program in the 2019-20 State Budget and we urge the Governor to support this vital program. 

The film credit has an established and demonstrable track record of creating 48,300 middle class jobs across New York State in 2017. That amounts to $4.3 billion in personal income for that year. These are union jobs that drove $6.7 billion in local spending in 2017 and included full health insurance and pension benefits as well as worker protections. 

Employers are only eligible for the credit after the production has occurred and the jobs have been created. In addition, employers must comply with strict transparency and reporting requirements to show the jobs were in fact created. The credit is structured to go directly to wages for men and women working on film and television productions. It does not go to executive jobs or Hollywood stars. 

In addition to the direct entertainment industry jobs created, the film credit has led to tens of thousands of jobs in construction, catering, transportation and the many other services needed to support the industry. This includes over 30 soundstages that have been built (or in the active pipeline) since 2016 and over $550 million in investment. 

We must continue to support the entertainment industry as a whole in this state and fully funding and supporting the Empire State Film Tax Credit is the centerpiece of that support.

Mario Cilento, President 

Call To Action

Monday, February 11, 2019, 1:00 p.m. 
100 South Swan Street, Albany, NY 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019, 1:00 p.m.
100 South Swan Street, Albany, NY

Issue of the Week

Oppose Expanding Autonomous Vehicles 
Part M of S1508/A2008

Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Protection Bill

The New York State AFL-CIO is strongly opposed to Part M of S1508/A2008. In 2017 the legislature enacted a testing period for autonomous vehicles in New York State including strict safety provisions and a narrow testing window of one year. This was extended last year. The current executive budget proposal would extend that testing period for two years and repeals an important provision of existing Vehicle and Traffic Law that requires an operator to have at least one hand on the steering wheel while operating a motor vehicle. 

The NYS AFL-CIO strongly opposes repeal of Section 1226 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law under any circumstance. This provision is an important safety requirement and it is imperative to ensure that human operators are behind the wheel and in control of motor vehicles including autonomous-capable vehicles. 

In addition to the obvious safety concerns related to autonomous vehicles, restrictions should be put in place to prohibit the use of autonomous vehicles for commercial purposes or as for-hire passenger vehicles. Until the safety issues have been clearly identified and addressed and an economic impact study on jobs in the transportation sector has been performed, clear prohibitions should be in place before any extension or expansion is authorized. 

Therefore, this Federation urges this bill be defeated.