TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) — MTV’s reality show “Jersey Shore” won’t get a tax break from New Jersey because Gov. Chris Christie says the show hurts the state’s image.
Christie on Monday blocked a $420,000 film credit that was approved for the show last week by the state Economic Development Authority.
The money was supposed to cover production costs for the hit reality series’ inaugural 2009 season.
Christie suspended the film tax credit program in 2010 to close a budget deficit, but the 2009 season still qualified for the credit.
“I have no interest in policing the content of such projects,” Christie said in a statement. “However, as chief executive I am duty-bound to ensure that taxpayers are not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the State and its citizens.”
The show’s production company, 495 Productions, based in Burbank, California, declined to comment. MTV spokeswoman Noelle Llewellyn said she wouldn’t comment on the tax issue but wanted to reassure the show’s fans. “‘Jersey Shore’ itself will not be affected,” she said.
The Italian-American themed show centers on the cast living and partying along the beach and boardwalk in Seaside Heights. “Jersey Shore” has made stars of its cast — 20-somethings with nicknames like Snooki and The Situation — and tourist destinations of their haunts. But it’s been bashed by officials who are sensitive about New Jersey’s image since it debuted nearly two years ago.
Lawmakers have expressed outrage about the credit since the Statehouse Bureau of The Star-Ledger of Newark and The Record newspapers first reported on it earlier this month.
But New Jersey Policy Perspective, a liberal think-tank, says some of the anger may be misplaced: The group says other businesses are getting millions in tax credits through the Economic Development Authority and aren’t necessarily bringing jobs to the state in return.