It is highly disturbing that the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting is abandoning a forty-five year tradition – going back to John Lindsay – of attracting and supporting theatrical, television and commercial production with one-stop, free services. In December 2009 the City agency, DCAS, implemented a $3,200 fee for use of City owned buildings. Now, Commissioner Oliver has proposed a $300 application fee the MOFTB permit to become effective in July 2010. It is logical that other City agencies will also seek to offset recent budget cuts with their own fees for use of their facilities and staffs.
It is incomprehensible that these changes are being implemented during the mayoralty of Michael Bloomberg, arguably the most business-savvy mayor in New York’s history. At a time when it is necessary to diversity our City’s economy away from dependence on Wall Street, film and TV production represent a clean industry employing 100,000 people whose significant economic benefits have been established by a half a dozen respected studies. There is a further public policy question that demands explanation when the recent 7.5% budget cut represents a loss of $150,000 to the MOFTB, while the new permit fees would generate approximately $900,000 annually. This new practice would move New York City and the MOFTB from 45 years of supporting TV, feature and commercial production, to aggressively taxing it.
The proposed MOFTB permit fee makes no distinction between a $600 student video exercise required by an academic course at our one of our City’s excellent film schools and a $60 million studio-financed feature film. At the very least, Mayor Bloomberg ought to exempt all legitimate student productions from these new fees, recognizing that they represent an odious burden on the next generation of filmmakers.
Register your own opinion of these new fees before June 2, 2010 at email@example.com