TRENTON – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal and Senator Paul Sarlo that would expand tax credits available through the Garden State Film and Digital Media Jobs Act to film production companies that make substantial capital investments in New Jersey.
The bill will permit the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to draw on unused “Aspire Program Act” and “Emerge Program Act” tax credits to increase incentives available to “New Jersey film-lease production companies” from $100 million to $250 million annually, and increase credits available to “New Jersey studio partners,” production companies that establish a permanent presence in the state, from $350 million to $400 million annually.
Under the bill, production companies would have to increase their investments into New Jersey facilities to qualify for the increased tax incentives.
This bill is designed in part to help Netflix redevelop Fort Monmouth, a former military base on the Jersey Shore, as a production facility. Netflix is in the process of buying 300 acres of land at Fort Monmouth to develop 12 soundstages. The company is in the midst of a lengthy due diligence phase after winning the bid for the land, which was an Army base until its closure in 2005. Lionsgate is also set to be the anchor tenant of a new production facility under development in Newark.
“The closing of Fort Monmouth was a devastating economic blow to our region, but Netflix’s project promises to provide a tremendous economic boon to our local economies,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “Netflix has committed to developing a state-of-the art production facility on the fort’s campus in Monmouth County, creating both permanent production jobs as well as construction jobs, not to mention benefiting local merchants, entertainment venues and restaurants.”
Following Governor Murphy’s reinstatement of the Film and Digital Media Tax Credit program in 2018 and its expansion in 2021, New Jersey has reestablished itself as a leader in film and television production, serving as a major film hub on the East Coast. In 2022, overall in-state production spending from filmmaking exceeded $650 million, besting the previous record of $500 million set for 2021. In addition, in 2022, motion picture, television and streaming productions in the state created over 8,500 jobs across 65 tax credit projects.
“The Shore region has long been one of the main drivers of economic growth in our state,” said Senator Sarlo (D-Bergen/Passaic), Budget Committee Chair. “The Netflix redevelopment at Fort Monmouth and other projects that will be aided by this legislation will certainly play a starring role in the region’s continuing revitalization.”
This bill will support the development of major studio investments in Monmouth, Essex, Hudson and Middlesex Counties, and through the legislation’s $30 million appropriation, the state will be able to invest directly into these studio projects so that if they do well, New Jersey taxpayers will benefit directly.
Especially as New York and California significantly enhance their tax credit programs, the highly competitive framework established by this bill allows for New Jersey’s film and digital media sector to effectively compete in today’s rapidly evolving and highly dynamic market.
The bill, S-3748, was released from the Senate by a vote of 33-1.