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New Jersey to offer millions in tax credits to draw in TV, film producers

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The Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act would restore tax-credit incentives for New Jersey-based productions.
The Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act would restore tax-credit incentives for New Jersey-based productions. - ()

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a much-anticipated bill that would provide upward of $85 million in film tax credits a year, in an effort to bolster the state's film industry.

The bill, sign Tuesday afternoon, was tweaked following a conditional veto by Murphy, so that the bill’s proponents would insert language covering reality TV shows, which had been previously excluded.

Senate Bill 122, the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act, would restore tax-credit incentives for New Jersey-based productions.

“The film and digital media industry is poised to become a dynamic part of New Jersey’s economy, one that will create good-paying union jobs and countless residual benefits to the community,” Murphy said in his signature statement.

The law, set to take effect immediately, sets aside $75 million for film and television productions and $10 million for digital media annually from 2019 to 2023. Gov. Chris Christie discontinued the program early in his governorship.

“There are at least 10 motion picture productions and 15 television series – ranging from television networks and cable/satellite program services to internet distributors – that are looking for locations in New Jersey or are in the planning stages to greenlight projects,” said Steven Gorelick, who heads the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission.

There are two tiers of tax credits in the law: a basic 30 percent, and 35 percent for companies that film in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer or Salem counties.

The thinking is North Jersey and Central Jersey are closer to New York and will have an easier time drawing productions.

Murphy, in a conditional veto in June, said the bill should extend tax credits to reality shows only if their producers commit to owning or leasing a production facility within an Urban Enterprise Zone for at least two years. UEZ’s, established in the 1980’s, are meant to draw in business, jobs and investment to economically depressed areas.

Lawmakers included that language in the bill, securing Murphy’s signature.

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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Johnnie July 11, 2018 6:50 pm

The upside of this tax incentive is for local independent filmmakers, this is an opportunity to bring projects to life which will mean more local jobs, money spent locally during production and the development of a home based industry. Its not just for the entertainment conglomerates.

Forest July 7, 2018 10:37 am

Uh... Why don't you look at what happened in New York State when they tried this? Didn't work out so well and they have a huge vacant building sitting in Upstate New York that has never been used.

LarryW July 3, 2018 3:14 pm

So let me get this straight - we need to raise corporate income taxes by 25% so we can give the movie industry a tax credit so they will film here...


This new tax bill should be titled the NJ Economic Suicide Act. Because that is what it is. We are scaring businesses out of the state...I guess all but the entertainment industry...I guess we are set for another embarrassing season of the Jersey Shore!

Larryw July 3, 2018 3:17 pm

So the governor Admits that tax cuts help bring in business...But then he goes ahead and raises the corporate income tax rate by 25%. This bill should have been titled the NJ Economic Suicide Act. So we tax rich taxpayers and corporations, which in turn motivates them to leave (and if you think they won't leave google David Tepper) BUT to entice an industry to move into the the state (i.e. Entertainment) we give them tax breaks.

Which one is it Governor?!

Richard Russo July 3, 2018 5:22 pm

These types of subsidies have been proven in many states to be losers for tax payers, though some connected landlords might make out. We need to start some spending restraint, and 'loser programs' such as this are a good place to start. Our Gov. is throwing money around, hoping for popularity and an 'activist image'. When - if ever - will he address a fundamental serious problem such as our unsustainable public sector worker pensions and health care benefits costs? At some point soon, the grinning, sand dancing bubba act will not be enough even for Democrats. I hope that either Mr. Sweeney or Ms. Oliver is well positioned in the next gubernatorial election cycle.

Lou July 3, 2018 10:30 pm

This is great. These are good paying jobs that NJ needs.