Sony Hacks: Cuomo Pay-to-Play Revealed

East Fishkill, NY - (4/17/15) - Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor (R,C,I - East Fishkill) is renewing his call for Albany to end New York's $420 million tax credit subsidy for Hollywood after new revelations into Sony's pay-to-play campaign contributions to Governor Cuomo.

"Governor Cuomo's campaign has pocketed $900,000 from Hollywood to support a tax subsidy that isn't working for New York's economy," said Lalor. "Even Cuomo's own tax reform commission acknowledged that the Hollywood tax credits are not creating enough jobs to justify their expense. The $420 million in yearly subsidies to Hollywood is nothing more than a payoff in exchange for campaign contributions. The $900,000 in campaign contributions to Cuomo in exchange for $420 million in annual tax credits is a pretty good investment for Hollywood. It's a terrible investment for New York."

The latest revelations from the Sony Pictures hack document emails between Sony executives about the relationship between major campaign contributions to Governor Cuomo and his support for the Hollywood tax credits. In a January 7, 2014 email to Sony CEO Michael Lynton, Keith Weaver, executive vice president of Worldwide Government Affairs at Sony, wrote, “Cuomo has been a strong protector of the film incentive – even amidst recent criticisms of the program. Also, given the shows we’ve got there and your relationships, I think it would look a bit odd if you weren’t on the host committee. I think we can get to the 50k commitment by making this a focus of our individual giving from execs this year (versus the federal PAC).” Weaver also wrote, “Fifty thousand dollars is a heavy lift since most of it needs to come from individual contributions (only $5k can come from corp.), but I recommend we do it.”

Lalor added, "We know the tax subsidies are just corporate welfare, Cuomo's own commission told us that. We actually just watched Viacom layoff 264 employees in New York after receiving $340,000 in tax subsidies in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone. We know Cuomo is using the tax subsidies to curry favor among influential donors. Why do we keep a tax subsidy when the only winners are Governor Cuomo and his friends in Hollywood?"