Writers Urge NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo To Sign Diversity Tax Credit Bill

David Robb

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More than 400 film and TV writers including John Oliver, Samantha Bee and Amy Schumer have signed a petition urging New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign the Television Diversity Tax Credit Bill, which would allocate a small portion of the Empire State Film Production Tax Credit to incentivize the hiring of women and people of color to write or direct television in the state. See the full list of signatories to the petition here.

Cuomo vetoed an earlier version of the bill in December 2017, saying it contained “significant technical difficulties which make the bill fatally defective.”

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The latest version, which was sponsored by state Sen. Robert Jackson and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, was passed overwhelmingly by the New York Senate and Assembly during their most recent legislative session.

The petition states:

“We write dramas, comedies, and other narratives for television, movie theaters, and online companies like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu Plus,” the petition states. “The characters and stories we craft entertain and inform millions of people around the world, and our productions employ tens of thousands of New Yorkers. For many years, leaders in the entertainment industry and in government have recognized the need to make our ranks more diverse and inclusive, to ensure that our stories and our employment practices mirror the society, and the state, in which we do our work.

“The time for studies, training programs and speeches has passed and the time to take meaningful action has arrived. A bill overwhelmingly approved by the State Senate and Assembly would create real opportunities for women and people of color to write and direct television in New York. If this bill becomes law, New York will be the place where progressive ideals intersect with workable solutions, a place that goes beyond talk to create meaningful change and real jobs. We strongly support S.5864A (Jackson)/A. 6683A (Crespo) and we urge the honorable Governor Cuomo to sign it into law.”

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