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Murphy to get Assembly-approved film & TV incentives legislation

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Gov. Murphy pictured at a roundtable discussion.
Gov. Murphy pictured at a roundtable discussion. - ()

Gov. Phil Murphy soon should receive a newly passed bill that once signed would restore tax-credit incentives to New Jersey-based film, television and digital productions.

The measure – dubbed Senate Bill 122 following reconciliation with legislation passed by the state Senate last month – was approved 59-14 by the Assembly on Thursday.

The legislation will make available to the film industry up to $75 million in tax credits for qualified film and TV production expenses and up to $10 million for qualified digital media content production. In a deal struck as the measure made its way to a final vote, South Jersey counties will see slightly higher incentives than the rest of the state.

In contrast to the 20 percent tax credit program created in 2005 and then suspended by former Gov. Chris Christie in 2011, the new legislation affords allowable credits up to 30 percent of the qualified film production expenses or 20 percent of the qualified digital media content production expenses. That increases to 35 percent and 25 percent, respectively, in eight counties: Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer and Salem.

“We did this to help the southern counties pull producers from the Philly and New York City areas,” said Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, D-37th District, who co-sponsored the legislation. "With passage of this bill, New Jersey can compete with neighboring states in this lucrative business sector. Hopefully we'll be able to attract other parts of industry to the state, such as wardrobe, which is being squeezed out of New York right now.”

Tom Bernard, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics and member of the New Jersey State Film Commission, lauded the restoration of the New Jersey incentives.

"New York is very unhappy right now because there's going to be a whole lot of business from there coming to New Jersey," Bernard said. “[Producers] will be waiting at the gates to rent buildings, spaces for studios and to hire local, abundant talent.”   

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