New Jersey rolls out $425M film tax credit sequel

October 5, 2018

CRESSKILL, N.J. (AP) — Crews filming a new NBC spy thriller at a palatial suburban home were greeted Friday by Gov. Phil Murphy, who stopped by to say a New Jersey production tax credit is up and running.

Murphy, a first-year Democratic governor, and the Democrat-led Legislature approved the new tax credit program in July, renewing an incentive that Republican Chris Christie let expire.

Murphy, legislators and other officials stood before the white, villa-like New York home where the crew of “The Enemy Within,” starring Jennifer Carpenter, is filming — praising the incentive program as a boon.

The program has come under criticism since legislative estimates say it could cost up to $425 million over five years with an uncertain economic benefit to the state, whose budget is perennially strapped.

But Murphy brushed that criticism aside on Friday. He says the NBC program will mean 300 jobs and $50 million in goods in services purchased in the state.

“Putting chum in the water to get that kind of economic activity? My gut tells me we do that all day long,” Murphy said.

Christie let the previous tax credit program expire in 2015 and vetoed legislative attempts to renew it. He famously criticized the MTV series “Jersey Shore,” opposing $420,000 in credits for the show and saying it perpetuated misconceptions about the state.

Unlike other tax incentives, the new law doesn’t require a so-called net benefits test, meaning the credits do not necessarily have to lead to an overall financial positive for the state before they’re awarded.

It also established a five-year tax credit program film and digital media production expenses incurred in New Jersey. No more than $75 million in tax credits can be granted for qualified film production expenses and no more than $10 million in credits for digital media content production expenses are allowed.

The credit amounts to 30 percent of a taxpayer’s film production expenses, or 20 percent of a taxpayer’s digital media content production expenses. There’s an added benefit for filming in one of eight specified counties.

Dillon Rand, who works on the crew for “The Enemy Within” as a liaison with the communities where filming takes place, said he’s originally from Montclair and had commuted to New York for work before.

He said he’s thankful to be back in New Jersey.

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