Nearly 500 film and TV writers have sent letters to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo calling for a new tax incentive for television producers who hire women and minority writers and directors. Writers who sent letters include Tina Fey and Oscar winners Tom McCarthy, Paul Haggis, Marshall Brickman and Michael Arndt.

Legislation to amend the tax incentives program, which has bipartisan support in the New York State Legislature, would allocate $5 million from the state’s existing $420 million annual rebates to go toward the salaries of female and minority writers and directors.

Introduced by state Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau County) and Assemblyman Keith Wright (D-Harlem), the bill “recognizes that providing tax incentives to enhance diversity in the ranks of television writers and directors will also enhance the diversity of stories and casts.”

wga-east“New York has the opportunity to make diversity a reality in television,” said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East. “This legislation would create opportunities for women and people of color to build sustainable careers in New York.  More diverse storytelling makes more compelling shows, strengthening an industry which has created so many thousands of jobs across the state.”

Other writers who have sent supporting letters to the governor include Nicholas Pileggi, Shari Springer Berman, Robin Thede, Andrew Bergman, Tom Fontana, Sarah Treem, Lucy Alibar, Tony Gilroy, Beau Willimon, Matt Williams, Richard LaGravenese, Julie Martin, Rebecca Miller, Anya Epstein, David Simon), Theresa Rebeck and Michael H. Weber.