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TRENTON, N.J. – Americans for Prosperity-New Jersey (AFP-NJ) on Thursday urged Members of the Assembly Appropriations Committee to vote against A-1038, an $85 million tax handout to the film and digital industry. AFP-NJ has consistently opposed the use of state tax credit programs to lure industries to the Garden State, and previous votes on the issue were included on the grassroots policy organization’s most recent scorecard. New Jersey previously ended film subsidies because of the poor return on investment.
“Rolling out the red carpet for Hollywood bigwigs is an unfair and wasteful use of taxpayers’ money. It’s a blockbuster for the film industry, but a budget-buster for New Jersey taxpayers at a time our state faces $248 billion in pension liabilities and some of the nation’s highest taxes. Film subsidies benefit the powerful and well-connected at the expense of everyday New Jerseyans and crowd out funding for core government services like education and public safety,” said AFP-NJ State Director Erica Jedynak. “Why should one industry receive special treatment and not others? Is the average homeowner getting a tax break on his or her property taxes? If the film industry needs a lighter tax burden to thrive, why don’t all industries? Our goal should be competition, a fairer tax code, and less unnecessary government spending, which would benefit all industries, not just the chosen few.”
The Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, which heard the bill in March, disallowed public testimony on the bill and amended the legislation to favor Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer, and Salem Counties. AFP-NJ State Director Erica Jedynak submitted a letter to the committee urging them to oppose the bill.
Legislative auditors for states like West Virginia have also concluded film incentive programs are a waste of money and should be terminated.
West Virginia Audit Overview: The Film Tax Credit Program Has Produced Minimal Economic Benefit to West Virginia; Therefore, the Legislative Auditor Recommends Termination of the Tax Credit and the Film Office