As it turns out, the New Jersey tax credit wasn’t a “shore” thing after all (I know, it was a terrible pun but I couldn’t help it).
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has decided against a $420,000 tax credit for the hit MTV show, Jersey Shore, taking his veto pen to the credit after a call from the state Senate and taxpayers in the state. 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 differently.
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, which was also the site for Bon Jovi’s “In and Out of Love” video (yes, I’m a child of the 80s, why do you ask?) has been largely supportive of the show due to the boost it has provided to the local economy.
However, the rest of New Jersey isn’t 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.
The Governor later announced the veto on Twitter.
So far, there hasn’t been any reply to the Governor on Twitter from Snooki, Sammi, Ronnie or Pauly – though in fairness, I’m not sure that the cast follows the Governor – or politics and current events for that matter (although Snooki did tweet McCain about the tanning tax last year).
The response on social media from taxpayers, however, has been largely positive for the Governor though some have questioned (and rightfully so) whether the result might be a Jersey-sized lawsuit. Do I sense another reality show?