Murphy conditionally vetoes Hollywood tax credit; calls for urban N.J. reality TV show?

TRENTON, N.J. — A multi-million dollar tax credit package purportedly designed to generate film industry activity in New Jersey, passed both houses of the Democrat-controlled state legislature on April 12th, was vetoed by Governor Phil Murphy on Wednesday.

Click here to view the full conditional veto message.

Unfortunately, Murphy’s expressed concerns had nothing to do with the hefty price tag or the fact that these credits never work when tried here or anywhere else.

“While I fully support efforts to incentivize the film and digital media industry in New Jersey, aspects of this bill could be improved upon. First, I am recommending that an additional tax incentive be offered to productions that make significant efforts towards hiring a diverse cast and crew,” Murphy explained. “Specifically, productions will have to put forth a plan that includes specific goals to achieve diversity, and will only receive the additional incentive if the Economic Development Authority verifies that the production has met or made good-faith efforts in achieving those goals. One of New Jersey’s greatest strengths is that it is one of the most diverse states in the nation. I want to make the economic opportunities of the film and entertainment industry available to all of our communities, and to ensure that the film and television projects receiving our support reflect the diversity of our State.”

Murphy further complained that the credit should be directed towards projects being shot in Urban Enterprise Zones; specifically, he wants “the bill [to] allow for a reality television show to be eligible for tax credits if the production company of the show commits to owning or leasing a production facility in an Urban Enterprise Zone.”

Murphy didn’t elaborate upon whether, for example, he thinks Nick Sacco or Ras Baraka would be a better lead for “Real Mayors of Northeast Jersey.”

Our government currently loses 92 cents on every dollar spent in designated UEZ areas.