Legislative Update

Volume CV, No. 2February, 2005

Heather Beaudoin



New York City currently ranks below both Los Angeles and Toronto in the number of productions shot in each city. Entertainment unions have argued that because of the tax incentives other jurisdictions provide to production companies, New York City has suffered millions of dollars in lost revenue from film productions.

On Dec. 15, City Council passed legislation that would allow a 5 percent refundable tax credit to film and television companies in addition to the new 10 percent tax credit qualified productions can receive from New York State.

A day after the legislation passed, NBC announced “NY 70,” a new pilot that will be filmed in New York City instead of Toronto, as was previously planned. The decision to film in the city is due to the passage of the film tax credit and the financial benefits the network can now take advantage of.

According to Comptroller Alan Hevesi, the entertainment industry is growing at a rate of about 7 percent in New York and has added more than 4,400 jobs in the past seven months.

Back to top


On Jan. 6, a coalition of labor leaders and business groups urged the City Council to impose a moratorium on all new “big-box” stores in response to Wal-Mart’s intention to locate a store in New York City.

Wal-Mart has been considering several locations for its first city stores, including a site in Rego Park, Queens. There are 2,845 Wal-Mart stores across America and more than 1,000 other outlets in 10 countries.

Central Labor Council President Brian McLaughlin has organized the push for a moratorium on new applications for big-box stores and created the labor-business coalition opposed to Wal-Mart’s incursion into the city. The moratorium would allow the city to examine how big-box stores, especially Wal-Mart, damage other retailers, their workers and the communities they are located in, McLaughlin testified at a hearing.

“Together, we have to confront Wal-Mart to stop the retail giant from turning good jobs into bad jobs, from blocking workers from the right to organize a union, from turning taxpaying workers and their families into welfare-eligible families supported by taxpayers, and from turning workers with health insurance into the ranks of the uninsured,” said McLaughlin.

Back to top


Councilmember Christine Quinn is sponsoring the NYC Healthcare Security Act that would expand access to quality, affordable health care for 152,000 working New Yorkers.

The proposed legislation would require employers in the grocery, hotel, building services, construction, and industrial laundry sectors that don’t provide health care insurance to their employees to contribute to a citywide fund to provide uncovered workers with family health coverage. This legislation would also help support the majority of employers in these sectors who already provide the prevailing level of health care. Their experience demonstrates that employers can offer quality, affordable health care to their workers while operating successful companies.

In early December, Columbia University released a study that shows New York City businesses are dropping health care for employees by 1.5 percent just since the late 1990’s.

Among the key findings of the study were:

  • Job-based coverage for low-wage workers has eroded, falling over 1.5 percentage points in NYC just since the late 1990’s;
  • Taxpayers and providers in New York City pay an estimated $612 million each year for health care services provided to workers and their families. Of this, $466 million is for low-wage workers and their families;
  • Rates of uninsurance among low-wage workers are highest among Hispanics and Asians. Of particular concern, some 57 percent of Hispanic low-wage workers lack health insurance; and,
  • Over two-thirds of uninsured low-wage workers are employed in the retail or service industries or in sales and service occupations in other industries.

Additional information is available at

Back to top