Gov. Kathy Hochul is being urged by black leaders to sign legislation to give a controversial film tax break to the morning talk show Sherri Shepherd, which replaced the Wendy Williams show and films in New York.
The unusual spin-off is supported by lawmakers, who believe Shepherd’s production deserves the same tax consideration as Williams, even though the law no longer grants talk shows breaks.
Supporters of the bill – which passed both state legislatures in June – fear Shepherd’s show will be relocated to Los Angeles if it is forced to pay normal taxes and that it will reduce “diversity” in New York’s media will decrease.
“If we allow the Sherri Shepherd show to leave New York, what message are we sending to the diverse audience that supports it?” Rep. Michaelle Solages, chair of the Black, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, said in a letter college
“Surely we want people to realize that New York did everything it could to keep this woman of color in New York.”
While proponents are pressuring the governor, critics are tossing Shephard’s special law as a corporate welfare for companies that don’t need it.
“What if we spent our state taxes on schools, clean water and subways instead of Hollywood producers and multimillion-dollar TV stars?” said John Kaehny, director of state watchdog group Reinvent Albany.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon received $24 million in federal funding in 2021. Why does Jimmy Fallon deserve state handouts more than Sherri Shepherd or any other new show? He doesn’t — none of these variety shows should be funded by state taxpayers. The state should pass new legislation to end this highly politicized and wasteful subsidy — no new legislation benefiting a variety show.”
New York State has a generous $420 million film and television industry tax credit that sweetens films and television shows that are made in local studios and employ local residents.
Asked about the bill, a spokesman said, “Governor Hochul is reviewing the legislation.”
The Shepherd action is sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman, whose district office is near their set, and Rep. Richard Gottfried, and has the backing of the Black, Hispanic and Asian Legislature and a group of Black ministers.
Initially, talk shows never received the film tax credit because they had small sets and employed too few people to justify the subsidy, sources said.
But the talk shows were then reclassified as “variety shows” and eligible for the tax break. But as of 2020, new variety/talk shows were no longer eligible for the New York Film Tax Credit.
However, the Wendy Williams Show and other similar shows were “committed” and remain eligible for the tax credit, supporters of the Sherri Shepherd show said.
Supporters said “Sherri” is essentially a sequel to the Wendy Williams show, using the same producers and 100-strong staff in the same Chelsea, and should be treated the same for tax reasons.
Lawmakers fear the show “Sherri” will be considered new programming and no longer eligible for the tax credit — and wrote a carve-out bill to specifically provide the subsidy.
Shepherd, like Williams, is black and racial and ethnic diversity in the film industry should be preserved, supporters of the film tax break have said.
“Without obtaining the credit, it is very likely that this show will be moved to Los Angeles for production. We cannot allow that to happen,” Solages said in her letter to Hochul.
Some supporters of the bill compared the situation to the tax breaks given to successive hosts on The Tonight Show.
“We all remember the series of arrangements and incentives given to Jimmy Fallon to bring The Tonight Show to New York,” said Carl Washington, president of the Empire State Missionary Convention.
The Empire State Development Agency, which oversees the film tax credit program, confirmed that it does not cover new variety shows, documentaries and talk shows not relocated from another state.
Wendy Williams applied for the tax credits before her show ended and before new laws went into effect. The agency said the application is still being reviewed.
The Sherri Show, with a different name, host, and different marketing and advertising campaigns, “is a new variety show now banned from programming by law,” ESD said.
“The Sherri Show has already filmed over 50 episodes without receiving a tax credit.”
The invoice was sent to Hochul for processing on Monday. Hochul is expected to approve or veto the proposed law on December 23.
https://nypost.com/2022/12/13/hochul-pressured-to-provide-film-tax-break-to-sherri-shepherd-show/ Hochul pushed for giving the Sherri Shepherd show a film tax break