With tax break, Murphy hopes to lure TV and film to NJ
Lots of movies and TV shows used to be filmed and videotaped in New Jersey, but former Gov. Chris Christie allowed a program that offered tax credits to motion picture and television companies to expire eight years ago.
Legislation that calls for the tax credits to be reintroduced has been passed by state lawmakers, and Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days.
Murphy, who has generally frowned on handing out corporate tax credits, said this kind of situation is different.
“We’ve talked throughout the campaign. I think you’ve heard us say this in transition and in government (that) this is the sort of tax credit that we actually like," he said.
During an event in Trenton on Monday, the governor said the tax break will bring immediate results, employing thousands of people while showcasing Jersey in a positive way.
“It’s fast-hitting. It grows our pride as a state. 'Hey, they filmed X in my town or on my street,'” Murphy said.
He also said it "produces, particularly the film and TV piece of this, good union jobs, which we need more of.”
Steve Gorelick, the executive director of the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission, has strongly supported efforts to renew the tax credit, saying the incentive would lure many productions to the Garden State — then create thousands of new temporary and permanent jobs.
Murphy said the bottom line here is simple.
“It’s got great tentacles into the broader community, so diners do better, local shops of all sorts of sizes do better," he said. "We like it. It checks a lot of different boxes.”
When Christie vetoed a bill to reintroduce the tax credits two years ago, there was speculation he did so because he didn’t like the TV show Jersey Shore, after publicly feuding with Snooki — but Christie had denied that.
The legislation Murphy is expected to sign will offer movie and TV companies 30 percent tax credits for production expenses, however if filming takes place in more remote areas of South Jersey — including in Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester or Salem Counties, or in Mercer County — the rate would be 35 percent.
The measure passed by the legislature last month would provide $75 million a year for film production expenses through June of 2023.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.
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