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No Tax Love for "Jersey Shore"

By Jo-Na Williams, Esq.

At the end of last month, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed the $420,000 film tax credit awarded by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to the company that produced the inaugural first season of the reality show "Jersey Shore".

The Governor is a critic of the film tax credit, which seeks to attract companies to film TV shows and movies in the state. Those companies would in turn receive tax incentives on the materials and goods they use while filming in the state. Additionally, this incentive creates jobs and tourist revenues. The Governor claims, "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." (http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/09/gov_christie_vetoes_jersey_sho.html). This and other comments have led some critics to call the Governor "Censor-in-Chief," as he has let the tax incentives stand for other movies and television shows filmed in the state. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903703604576586742565938886.html)

However, proponents of the tax credit are concerned that Governor Christie's action will have a 'chilling effect' on the industry's desire to film in New Jersey. (http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/09/gov_christie_vetoes_jersey_sho.html) and (http://businessfacilities.com/blog/snooki-tax-gets-whacked) The Governor suspended the program in 2010 to aid in closing the state's deficit, but the credit to "Jersey Shore" survived the suspension of the program because it was awarded to the show in 2009.

Giving tax credits to companies in the film industry as an incentive to attract more revenue and jobs is not a foreign concept. States like Massachusetts, Michigan, and Texas already engage in this practice, however some of their elected officials have also been harshly criticized for the content of the movies and shows filmed in their states. Many critics of these incentives question whether the content actually garners the attention, tourism, and jobs the incentives hope to create. While this is only the beginning of the battle for the film industry to receive assistance from local governments in the creations of their projects, the questions remain: should taxpayers foot the bill in exchange for increased tourism and potential jobs, or should filmmakers start cutting their budgets and clipping coupons?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 6, 2011 9:30 AM.

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