In his state-of-the-county address on Tuesday, County Executive Mike Hein called on the state to enact legislation that would include Ulster in a tax-credit program to encourage film production companies to work here. Noting that “we are already home to countless movie stars, producers, writers and directors and studio executives,” Hein spoke to “a major problem.” Under current state law, he said, Ulster was not defined as “upstate.”
“To drive home how absurd and unfair this is,” he said, “84 percent of all upstate New York counties are included in this program, but we are not. That is fundamentally wrong.” He called on local state representatives to pursue Ulster’s inclusion.
Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, who represents most of the county, said Ulster was already eligible for a 35 percent film-making tax credit. He said he has been pushing for the additional 10 percent for qualified labor costs on budgets over $500,000 to which Hein referred.
“For him to make that statement is fallacious,” Cahill said, “but I guess a lot of good politicians like to get to the head of the parade.” Cahill conceded Hein’s statement that most upstate counties were included in the credit, but noted the original legislation defined “upstate” as west of Albany. “The sense was the Hudson Valley’s proximity to New York was already an advantage,” he said.
Agreeing with Hein that filmmaking “has done really well for us,” Cahill said, “We can do more. We’re pushing to expand the [income-tax] credit to post-production and music.”