Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal Announces Introduction of Legislation to End Tax Breaks for Companies with Bad Records on Sexual Harassment, Assault

The Weinstein Company benefited from city and state film production tax credits
October 16, 2017

New York, NY – Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal announced that she will be introducing legislation to ban any company doing business in New York from receiving city or state tax credits or other benefits if the company, its parent, any of its subsidiaries or principals knew or should have known about sexual harassment, discrimination or harassment taking place in the company and took no action to stop it or actively covered it up.

"Taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars should not be used to subsidize sexual assault," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. "New York must have a zero tolerance policy toward sexual assault and harassment. Companies that hide sexual assault or discrimination will no longer receive taxpayer funded benefits. It stops today. New York will not be a party to sexual abuse or discrimination."

The Weinstein Company, whose principal was Harvey Weinstein, benefited from New York City's "Made in NY" tax credit initiative as well as New York State’s Empire State Film Production Tax Credit, programs which provide tax credits to movie and television companies to encourage production here in New York.

"The problem isn't unique to the film industry, so my legislation will include property tax abatements which are used to encourage construction and similar tax incentive programs across all industries on the city and state level," said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. "We don't want your business here in New York if sexual harassment and abuse is part of it."

Under the proposed legislation, which is currently being drafted, any company applying to the city or the state for a tax credit would be required to disclose its sexual harassment policy and the number, type and disposition of sexual assault, harassment or discrimination cases involving their employees within the previous five years.

If based on the facts and circumstances, the company has not properly handled those cases or has handled them in such a way as to expose others to harm, the company will not be eligible for the benefit.

“Companies who do business here in New York have a responsibility to provide a safe and assault-free environment for all employees, regardless of gender. We in New York have a responsibility to require proof that they are doing so. The burden on companies to fill out the paperwork required to comply with this new law is not greater than the burden on the victims and society as a whole for turning a blind eye to dangerous, hostile workplaces."

Assemblymember Linda. B. Rosenthal, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, represents the 67th Assembly district, which includes the Upper West Side and parts of the Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods in Manhattan.