By Edith Honan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The film and TV industry has spent $60 billion in New York City over the last decade, and production of feature films and popular shows is at an "all-time high," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Tuesday.
While financial incentives to lure film and TV production have been controversial in other cities and states, especially in an era of budget gaps and fiscal austerity, New York has worked to retain its leading role.
A 2010 study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded that generous tax credits were not a good value since the best jobs went to people from outside the state.
But film and television production in New York City employs 130,000 people, including the support sectors of construction and food service, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group, conducted at the city's request free of charge.
"This report confirms what I've been seeing on sets and sound stages around the city - the film and television industry in New York City has never been bigger," the mayor said in a statement.
In 2011, the industry generated $7.1 billion in direct spending, the study found.
Bloomberg has long argued New York City's reputation as a cultural hub brings jobs and bolsters its international reputation, generating more tourism.
The state of New York offers a program that provides qualifying film and television productions a 30-percent tax credit on expenditures.
The city has a series of programs designed to complement the state's tax credit, costing the city between $10 million and $20 million per year, according to its Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting.
Bloomberg said the media landscape in the city - which serves as a backdrop for such TV shows as "30 Rock," "Gossip Girl" and "The Good Wife" - "has shown strong growth throughout the economic downturn."
(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Philip Barbara)