New York is First State to Report GASB 77 Subsidy Data

Hundreds of local governments have already reported their tax revenue losses associated with corporate subsidies. In late July, the State of New York became the first state to do so, in their Basic Annual Report, a publication that precedes the state’s more comprehensive CAFR report on state finances.

New York reported $1.236 billion in state revenues lost to subsidies from 13 different subsidy programs. The largest subsidies were granted through the Film and Commercial Production Credit, which at $621 million accounted for more than half of total subsidies. Nationally, New York ranks first in spending on film tax credits, far outdistancing the second place state. New York Empire State Development, which oversees the program, claims these credits have led to one million new hires, according to reporting by Hilary Russ of Reuters. However, the state’s claim lacks the back-up to ascertain whether a lighting technician working on a different production every month counts as one job or twelve.

In contrast to the largesse shown Hollywood, the report is also striking for the story it tells about the relative lack of support for programs to serve lowest income New Yorkers. The state’s Low-Income Housing Credit cost $35 million, while the Youth Works Program, designed to provide employment opportunities to at-risk youth, accounted for just $20 million of state subsidies.

Here are the details of all of New York’s disclosures:

Program Name

($Millions)

Film Subsidies

$ 621

Brownfields

$ 130

Empire Zones

$ 23

Qualified Empire Zones

$ 132

Industrial Development Areas

$ 81

Start-Up NY

$ 105

Excelsior

$ 74

Youth Works

$ 20

Low-Income Housing

$ 35

Other

$ 15

Total

$1,236

 

Source: NY State Basic Financial Report (pages 72-77) http://www.osc.state.ny.us/finance/finreports/bfs/bfs2017.pdf

 

Within the next six months, about 50,000 state and local governments are expected to report their foregone tax revenue as a result of tax abatements. The disclosures are the result of a new accounting rule, GASB Statement No. 77, adopted by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) that applies to government financial reports for fiscal years ending December 15, 2016 and later.

Good Jobs First is gathering GASB 77 data at its new Subsidy Tracker 2 database, available here.