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NEW YORK CITY THEATERS EXEMPTED FROM SPECIAL TAX

Hoping to keep the bright lights of Broadway burning, Gov. Pataki signed legislation Friday exempting New York City theaters from a 4 percent city tax.

The tax break is on the goods and services producers purchase to bring plays or musicals to the stage.

Pataki also signed legislation aimed at providing more public oversight of the New York Racing Association, which operates the Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga thoroughbred tracks under state franchise.

Both measures were approved last month by the State Senate after being earlier adopted by the Assembly.

The theater tax-break bill would apply only to facilities that have at least 100 permanent seats and to productions meant to run at least five times a week for a minimum of two weeks. Sponsors said that restriction is designed to limit the tax break to "legitimate theatrical productions."

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