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Sarlo: NJ’S Cancellation Of Film Production Tax Credit Boosting Jobs, Economy Across The Hudson

NY Sees Spike in Jobs Since Expanding Its Filmmaker Tax Incentives After Christie Cancels NJ’s Program

TRENTON — Senate Budget and Appropriations Chairman Paul Sarlo today pointed to new figures reported out of New York that show that state growing jobs and local revenues through an expanded tax credit for film and television production as proof that New Jersey is losing out on a means of growing its own economy after the state turned down a chance to expand its own program.

“Instead of fostering productions here and helping local businesses, the governor’s shortsightedness in ending New Jersey’s film tax credit is giving New York a real big economic boost,” said Sarlo (D-Bergen). “These are jobs and economic benefits we can’t afford to be passing up.”

According to a report in Crain’s New York Business, the number of production jobs in New York jumped 22 percent last year to 43,000, even while job creation overall in the state was stagnant, something executives credit to New York’s expansion last year of its production tax credit program to 30 percent of production costs. So far in 2011, the 137 applications for projects in New York mark a 66 percent increase from 2010; those projects include 91 films, 20 TV show pilots and 26 television series.

Sarlo is sponsor of legislation (S-3056) to reinstate and expand New Jersey’s Digital Media and Film Tax Credit to a total of $50 million and allow a tax credit of up to 22 percent of eligible production expenses. The bill also would double the previous credit for digital media productions to $10 million. The measure passed the Senate in September without any Republican support.

New Jersey was home to the set of the NBC show “Law & Order: SVU,” until the previous tax credit program was cancelled. The show is now filmed in New York. The state was also the filming location for the Academy Award-nominated film “The Wrestler,” as well as “Julie & Julia,” both of which were lured to the state by the incentive.

“Perhaps the biggest slap in the face is the reality that Boardwalk Empire, set in Atlantic City, is actually filmed in Brooklyn,” said Sarlo. “New Jersey could use this economic boost way more than one of the most fashionable parts of New York.”

According to data from the Motion Picture Association of America, New Jersey-based productions supplied nearly 7,000 jobs in 2008, paying more than $500 million in wages. Additionally, more than 3,000 small businesses benefitted from a total of $508 million in economic activities related to TV and film productions.

According to Crain’s, New York City vendors benefitted from more than $26 million in economic activity from the filming of the movie Arthur, alone. That production also created 4,300 jobs including more than 1,000 crew members. The film’s local economic benefit only lagged its total domestic box office haul by $7 million.

“The overall economic benefit to the state and its small businesses far outweighs the amount of any credit,” said Sarlo. “We need to reestablish New Jersey as a home for television and film production, and in the process bring back thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity.”