With Gov. Phil Murphy having signed the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act in July and a multimillion dollar film tax credit program now in place, film production could roll out as soon as September, according to Steve Gorelick, who heads the New Jersey Motion Picture & Television Commission.
“[Producers are] extremely interested in New Jersey,” Gorelick said at the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s board meeting Friday. “It’s not just that they’re interested. We have boots on the ground now, people are scouting right now, people looking at locations and signing contracts.”
The NJMPTC, along with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and Division of Taxation, are tasked with doling out the tax credits and overseeing the program, and the newly signed law allocates $75 million a year for film and television productions and another $10 million annually for digital media.
In 2011, former Gov. Chris Christie discontinued a more modest version of the program, citing concerns over its cost. It ended in 2015, and Christie vetoed several Legislative attempts to revive the program.
“In September we’re going to have a lot of production begin. It’s a very exciting time for us,” Gorelick said.
A source indicated recipients of the tax credits will be announced soon.
Under the law there are two tiers of tax credits: up to 30 percent of expenses are covered if filming is in North Jersey, and up to 35 percent if in Atlantic, Burling, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer or Salem counties.
The law requires recipients to feature a statement or logo in the end credits that reads “Filmed in New Jersey.”
Reality TV shows will be eligible for the credit only if the production company owns, leases or occupies a 20,000-square-foot facility in an Urban Enterprise Zone for at least two years, and makes at least a $3 million capital investment in the facility.
The current program lasts from 2019 to 2023 and will cost the state $425 million over its five-year lifetime.
Under the law, the NJMPTC will handle outreach and marketing, and determine whether applying projects meet the program’s criteria.
The EDA will host and accept the applications on its website, determine the tax credit amount, recommend which applicants the authority’s board should approve or deny, monitor compliance and manage the sale of the tax credits. Companies can sell the tax credits for at least 75 percent of their value.
The Division of Taxation will keep tabs on the number of tax credits issued and deliver the credits to recipients.
In the short term, the film commission, taxation division and the attorney general’s office are working to hash out the specific terminology in the law and finalize the separate applications for receiving and selling the tax credits.