Senator Schumer Helps Broadway Get A Break
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is pushing Congress to support a bill giving tax breaks to the Broadway theater industry. Schumer’s bill would give Broadway theater a huge financial boost under a change in the federal tax code.
His proposal, recently passed by the State Finance Committee, would allow 100 percent of any live theatre investment to be deducted up to $15 million per production. This type of tax incentive is currently granted to television and film projects, but has yet to reach live theater. Currently, theater investors must pay tax on income from shows that haven’t yet made it in the black. These risky investments deter investors from putting money into Broadway theatre when the fate of its success is so uncertain.
Schumer said the bill would benefit New York City and create thousands of jobs for actors and backstage workers. Additionally, the incentive would help the hotel, restaurant and taxi industries. In 2012-13, Broadway theatre contributed $11 billion to New York City’s economy.
Though the bill is focused on New York’s theatre district, its benefits spread throughout the entire nation. Since more than half of the people who attend Broadway productions attend them on the road, the tax break would benefit other cities that host Broadway theatre productions.
According to Schumer, investors are shying away from New York theatre due to a lack of tax benefits. Film producer Harvey Weinstein said that similar tax breaks in the UK led his production company to invest in “Finding Neverland,” which originated in England in 2012. Weinstein said if there was more Broadway support, he would have considered the risk of taking his show to New York rather than the UK.
Schumer was accompanied by Broadway stars on Monday April 7 at a news conference where he announced the bill. Bryan Cranston, the “Breaking Bad” star who currently plays President Lyndon B. Johnson in the play “All the Way,” said that the tax change would allow theatre producers more chances on “story-telling that may be on the fringe but just may be incredibly important.”
Schumer expects the bill to be voted on by the Senate within a month and a half, and possibly have a vote in the House as early as this summer.