Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal announced she is introducing new legislation that would end tax incentives for New York-based companies with a track record of sexual harassment.
The new legislation, still in the drafting phase, would mean that New York would not allow those companies to receive city or state tax credits if they are found to have mishandled or “actively covered up” allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars should not be used to subsidize sexual assault,” said Rosenthal, D-Manhattan. “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.”
One such under fire company would be the Weinstein Company, whose principal was Harvey Weinstein. They benefited from the “Made in NY” tax credit program, which provides tax credit to movie and television companies to encourage them to film in New York. Another well known program is New York State’s Empire State Film Production Tax Credit.
“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 Rosenthal.
The new legislation proposes that any company that applies for a city- or state-funded tax credit would be required to disclose its sexual harassment policies and reporting data. This also includes the type of harassment, disposition of sexual assault, harassment or discrimination cases involving their employees within the previous five years.
If a company has not handled the cases in a proper and orderly manner, they will not be eligible for the tax benefits. Rosenthal believes that companies in New York have a responsibility to provide a safe and assault-free work environment, regardless of the gender of an employee.
“We don’t want your business here in New York if sexual harassment and abuse is part of it.”