NJ No Longer “Film Friendly”

Movie and television producers are going to realize, if they don’t know already, that they won’t find maximum tax relief by setting up shop in New Jersey.

You probably heard about New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie’s denial of a $420,000 tax credit for MTV’s Jersey Shore earlier this year. Christie doesn’t approve of the show because it “perpetuates misconceptions about the state and its citizens.” It’s probably safe to say that most people from NJ would prefer out-of-staters soon forget the association with Jersey Shore.

However, democrats continue to push for passage of legislation that would grant tax credits for production companies that shoot films and TV shows in the Garden State. The democrats point to a 2008 study showing that movie maker tax credits are good for jobs and good for the local economy in general. The republicans point to a 2010 study showing that movie production incentives have no such effect.

The irony in all this is that New Jersey, specifically Fort Lee NJ, is known as the birthplace of the motion picture industry. The state suffered its first hit 100 years ago when most filmmakers moved their operations to California where they could film year-round with little threat of inclement weather. Could these tax issues be the second major setback for New Jersey’s film industry?