Strained state budgets are putting pressure on movie and TV film incentive programs, and the experience of New Jersey doesn’t help the case for tax breaks.
It turns out that the state’s taxpayers have picked up $420,000 in production costs from the first season of “Jersey Shore,” which has probably done more than any other program to reinforce stereotypes, made worse because it has the reality label.
According to NJ.com, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority approved the tax credit, after Gov. Chris Christie ended the program last year.
“The Governor’s opinions about Jersey Shore and its New Yorker cast are well-known,” said Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak. “They are phonies and the show is a false portrayal of New Jersey and our shore communities. He has also been clear about his belief that film tax credit programs are not the most effective way to spur economic growth throughout the State.”
Supporters of the program say that it is set up so it is not based on a shows content, but the windfall that productions bring to local communities.
While industry lobbyists have gone to great lengths to point out the job-creation that comes with incentive programs, they also are easy targets, especially when they raise the prospect of taxpayers having paid for Snooki’s tans.