Christie Blocks Tax Credit for ‘Jersey Shore’
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey on Monday blocked a $420,000 tax credit that the state’s Economic Development Authority had approved last week.
Was the loser a high-tech startup? An alternative energy company, perhaps?
No. It was Snooki and the Situation.
The production company behind the reality series “Jersey Shore” had applied for the credit, intended to expand film and television shooting in the state, to help cover costs for its inaugural season in 2009.
Mr. Christie said he was “duty-bound” to see that taxpayers were “not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the state and its citizens.”
“In this difficult fiscal climate,” he wrote to Caren S. Franzini, the chief executive of the Economic Development Authority, “the taxpayers of New Jersey should not be forced to subsidize projects such as ‘Jersey Shore.’ ”
“Jersey Shore,” shown on MTV, is hardly the only reality program to get economic help from the state in which it sets up its cameras. One show, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” generated a small tempest on blogs by claiming $1.2 million in Alaska tax credits under a plan that Ms. Palin had signed into law in 2008, when she was governor.
Mr. Christie told Ms. Franzini that he was not stopping other applications that had gotten the green light from the authority. Among them were tax credits totaling $9 million for a production company behind “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” the long-running television drama about detectives on the New York side of the Hudson River, and $176,900 for three films.
Jeannie Kedas, a spokeswoman for MTV, said Mr. Christie’s veto of the credit “does not affect the show.”
State Senator Joseph F. Vitale, a Democrat from Middlesex County who had opposed the tax credit for “Jersey Shore,” applauded Mr. Christie’s action.
“It’s about the words, and words matter,” Mr. Vitale, a Democrat from Middlesex County, said. “The words the cast members use to describe Italian-Americans, ‘Guido’ and others, are no different to me than words used to disparage other ethnic groups or races. It wouldn’t be an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars to support that kind of language. That’s my beef with the show.”
But it is not his only beef. “It’s just a bunch of deadwoods getting drunk and getting arrested,” he said. “I’m a big fan of turning the channel.”
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