Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop will go before the Senate Economic Growth Committee on Thursday to testify in support of the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act, an expansion of the state's tax credits for film and digital media productions.
"It will be a job creator for areas all across the state," Fulop said in an interview Tuesday.
The act is featured as part of a package of additional business incentives to complement the recently passed Economic Opportunity Act. State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) is sponsoring the bill, which also calls for additional tax credits for affordable housing projects and the repurposing of former health care facilities.
Lesniak agrees with Fulop that the film incentives will give the industry an economic boost and that it's needed to ensure that business doesn't then pick up and head across the Hudson River to New York, where incentives also are readily available.
That's the message Lesniak is hoping Gov. Chris Christie will heed this time.
In 2011, Christie issued a veto on a similar film incentives bill that Democrats later unsuccessfully attempted to override.
"I'm hoping to get his support this time around," Lesniak said.
Fulop is looking to do his part too in spreading that notion. While he claims that the incentive would provide benefits statewide, he notes that Jersey City, specifically, "is in a very unique position to attract real film productions."
And he says it's not just the city's waterfront area that has something to gain. Fulop points to the Heights neighborhood and the area around Liberty State Park as having "tremendous views and tremendous assets."
If the bill were to pass, New Jersey's film and digital media industries would "definitely be competitive" with the likes of New York, he said.
The committee is scheduled to meet at 10:30 a.m. in the Statehouse Annex in Trenton.