NJ Governor Chris Christie can’t be happy about the fact that his state must reimburse the producers of MTV’s reality show “Jersey Shore” $420,000 thanks to a now-suspended tax credit program. In 2010 Christie pulled the plug on the Economic Development Authority, but deals made before that must be honored.

Snookis Tan Bought By NJ Taxpayers

The Star-Ledger of NJ reported on the story and talked with Michael Drewniak, Governor Christie’s spokesman:

“The Governor’s opinions about Jersey Shore and its New Yorker cast are well-known. They are phonies and the show is a false portrayal of New Jersey and our shore communities. He has also been clear about his belief that film tax credit programs are not the most effective way to spur economic growth throughout the State.”

The $420,000 was awarded to the production company, but that has not prevented one state senator from asking the Governor to block it from being distributed. Democrat Joe Vitale has joined with an Italian American group calling for Christie to veto the payment.

“It is disparaging to Italian Americans. He should veto it.”

Vitale actually supports the tax credit in most cases, he is just not a fan of “Jersey Shore.”

Snookis Tan Bought By NJ Taxpayers

Christie may have put the breaks on the program, but the website for the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission is still promoting a strong menu of tax breaks and incentives including;
  • 20% tax credit for filmmakers
  • 20% tax credit for production of digital media
  • Exemption from NJ’s Sales Tax

Less than a decade ago, only five states offered financial incentives to movie makers, but by 2010, almost every state in the union had a film commission and a package to offer producers. These generous tax breaks for movies and TV seemed to have gone under the radar until recently. A combination of budget problems and abuses discovered within some of the systems slowed the amount of money being offered by states to filmmakers. However, the Screen Actors Guild website lists all of the state film commission offices which contains offers of rebates/tax credits from 10% to 40%. (Puerto Rico has the most generous package.)

What do you think?  Should states use tax breaks to lure movies and TV production crews?


Incentives

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