The New Jersey Economic Development Authority awarded MTV a production tax credit of $420K for its first season in 2009, and the state’s taxpayers are now required to pay up – much to the amazement and outrage of Republican and Democratic legislators alike.
According to reports, the entire film credit program was axed in 2010 by Republican Gov. Chris Christie as one of his many actions in attempting to restore fiscal order to the state. However, his elimination of the program came after the credit had been awarded.
However, legislators are calling for the credit to be vetoed or blocked.
TPMMuckraker captured comments from state senators representing both parties.
From Republican Declan O’Scanlon: “I can’t believe we are paying for fake tanning for ‘Snooki’ and ‘The Situation’, and I am not even sure $420,000 covers that. “This is a great investment for the taxpayers, as if they can make a show called ‘Jersey Shore’ anywhere else.”
From Democrat Joe Vitale: “It is disparaging to Italian Americans. He should veto it.”
Now Politico is reporting that Christie may take steps to block the credit. In an earlier statement, however, his office had questioned whether he had the power to undo an action that was in the pipeline before he took office, and was approved before the program making it possible was nixed.
The program is a reality show set in Seaside Heights NJ, involving eight individuals who live and work there for the benefit of MTV cameras and MTV’s viewers. Although New Jersey is the focal point of the program, the cast is said to be from New York, including a number from Staten Island.
RBR-TVBR observation: This has all the earmarks of a bureaucratic train wreck. Was the NJEDA fearful that a show called “Jersey Show” would pull up its roots and go film in Canada or Eastern Europe?
To top it off, the cast includes mostly natives of New York, and the show seems to be reviled by New Jersey natives.
We aren’t sure about the ethics of a state reneging on a deal like this – but that only adds to the train wreck debris that the whole situation is generating.