New York Budget Includes Tax Subsidy to "The Tonight Show"

March 22, 2013

NBC may be a successful, profitable company but that's not stopping New York legislators from offering them taxpayer subsidies to lure The Tonight Show back to 30 Rockefeller Plaza from California. NBC is rumored to be replacing Jay Leno as host of the late night mainstay with comic Jimmy Fallon.

The New York Daily News first reported on a carefully worded provision inserted into the state budget that can only mean The Tonight Show:

The provision would make state tax credits available for the producers of “a talk or variety program that filmed at least five seasons outside the state prior to its first relocated season in New York,” budget documents show.

In addition, the episodes “must be filmed before a studio audience” of at least 200 people. And the program must have an annual production budget of at least $30 million or incur at least $10 million a year in capital expenses.

In other words, a program exactly like “The Tonight Show.”

Aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) denied to the Daily News that the provision was written with The Tonight Show in mind.

Altogether, New York provides $420 million in tax subsidies each year for the film and television industry, one of the highest levels of taxpayer support in the country.

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