Looks like the MTV show, Jersey Shore, will no longer be getting a tax break – and we don’t think anyone will disagree that it’s a good move. Our Governor, Chis Christie (R) has heard the New Jersey people and vetoed the $420,000 tax credit. Christie’s office had previously signaled that they would not take any action related to the tax credit since the show’s application was part of a pre-approved process under the Corzine administration. However, Christie – not a fan of the tax credit or Jersey Shore – eventually decided against it.
The tax credit is part of a program under the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The Film Development Credit allows a credit of up to 20% for film production companies on their New Jersey Corporate Business or Gross Income Taxes if at least 60% of the total production expenses (not including marketing and advertising) is spent in New Jersey. Jersey Shore fits the bill: the show’s premiere season was filmed in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. The town has been largely supportive of the show due to the boost it has provided to the local economy.
However, the rest of New Jersey homeowners and businesses are not quite as thrilled with the show. A number of groups, including Italian-American organizations, have been unhappy with the language, excessive drinking, sexual content and ethnic stereotypes on the show. As a result, there has been a significant push back for any incentives – tax credits or otherwise – offered to the show.
Gov. Christie formally announced the tax credit veto via a letter to Caren S. Franzini, CEO of the NJEDA. In the letter, Christie wrote:
“In this difficult fiscal climate, the taxpayers of New Jersey should not be forced to subsidize projects such as Jersey Shore. We must ensure that our limited taxpayer dollars are spent on programs and projects that best benefit the State of New Jersey… I am duty-bound to ensure that taxpayers are not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the State and its citizens.”
I think most of us would agree. What do you think?