Murphy calls for an expansion of N.J. film and TV tax credit

Governor Phil Murphy on the one-year anniversary of the release of his economic vision plan at Rowan University on October 1, 2019. (Edwin J. Torres/Governor's Office)

Governor Phil Murphy on the one-year anniversary of the release of his economic vision plan at Rowan University on October 1, 2019. (Edwin J. Torres/Governor's Office)

Look out, Hollywood. Here comes … New Jersey?

Gov. Phil Murphy wants to attract more big-name directors and production companies to shoot films and TV shows in the Garden State.

To do it, Murphy has called on the legislature to expand the state’s film and TV tax credit, which he said is already paying dividends for residents.

“The film and TV [tax credit] is a huge hit, and by the way the payback is immediate,” Murphy said Tuesday. “This is not like the other incentives where you promise to do X but it’s over ten years. This is: the circus comes to town, and you hit immediately, and you get an immediate payback.”

The Democrat said he wants to increase the amount of money available and extend the length of the program.

Some lawmakers were lukewarm on the idea. Sen. Joe Pennacchio, R-Morris, said Murphy should first present evidence that the tax break program has worked well.

“Outside of the Hollywood lobbyists who are pushing for the film tax incentives, we have no evidence that they have helped to boost the New Jersey economy,” Pennacchio said. “Before he considers raising the $425 million cap on this relatively new program, Governor Murphy should slow down and determine if it’s working as intended.”

The state Economic Development Authority recently approved tax credits for the upcoming movie “Joker” starring Joaquin Phoenix as well as a Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of “West Side Story.”

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