Gov. Murphy Looks to Restore Film/TV Tax Breaks to a Post-Snooki Jersey
(ABOVE: MTV photo)
Superstorm Sandy did a fair amount of damage to New Jersey. Years later, we’re still cleaning up.
Same could be said for Superstorm Snooki, and the sheer devastation some might argue she and her friends from “Jersey Shore” inflicted upon the Garden State after making landfall in Seaside Heights in 2009. The resulting Category 5 media maelstrom left an indelible mark on the state, like an Axe Body Spray stain on our favorite v-neck that we just can’t scrub out.
As a result, in 2011 the Christie Administration moved to block tax credits for film and television productions in New Jersey. Christie claimed he wanted to ensure that taxpayers were, “not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the state and its citizens.” In his statement to the Economic Development Authority, Governor Christie went on to say, “In this difficult fiscal climate, the taxpayers of New Jersey should not be forced to subsidize projects such as ‘Jersey Shore.’”
Fact is, NJ Taxpayers weren’t PAYING to have film projects—they were enticing film projects with tax breaks, which would in turn fuels local economies.
hMAG argued this point back in 2011, stating, “As a New Jersey Taxpayer, it’s easy to agree with the Governor’s rationale. But it’s the tax credit that entices production companies to film in this state in the first place—it’s not GIVING tax money to the productions; it’s alleviating fees that would otherwise be charged. There’s a difference in the sense that we’re not taking money out of a teacher’s pocket to pay Snooki, we’re simply cutting them a deal so that they’ll film here in the first place. That way we generate SOME tax revenue rather than none at all. Ask any New Jersey politician—current, former or recently paroled—cutting deals is how things get done.”
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Governor Murphy said on Monday that the film and digital incentives are “the sort of tax credit that we actually like,” according to Observer.com.
“It’s fast-hitting. It grows our pride as a state,” Murphy said during an unrelated event in Trenton. “It produces, particularly the film and TV piece of this, good union jobs, which we need more of. It’s got great tentacles into the broader community, so diners do better, local shops of all sorts of sizes do better. We like it. It checks a lot of different boxes.”
The bill (S122) passed the Legislature in April, granting up to $75 million annually in tax credits for film productions and $10 million in tax credits per year for digital productions, aiming to lure film, television and other digital productions to the Garden State.
Murphy will reportedly sign the bill this weekend at the Montclair Film Festival.