Revoked film tax credit not troublesome, Guadagno says; film projects increasing

TRENTON – A minor battle emerged last year over the Garden State Film and Digital Media Job Act, which was vetoed and failed to capture a two-thirds majority for override in March.

Looking back, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno told the Assembly Budget Committee on Tuesday that she’s glad it didn’t take because it’s an unnecessary allocation of resources.

Despite the absence of a tax credit, Guadagno said, the amount of film projects in the state is projected to increase for the second year in a row.

In 2009, she said, the state counted 797 projects, which increased to 820 in 2010. This fiscal year, the state is expecting 860 projects to come to fruition.

“I’m told by the head of the (Motion Picture and TV Commission) that we are on track,” she said.

Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, (D-32), of Jersey City, asked, “So there’s no hope for restoring the tax credit then?”

“I wouldn’t recommend it,” Guadagno said. “I don’t think it’s necessary.”

Budget Chairman Lou Greenwald, (D-6), Voorhees, asked if the net result increase belies a loss of big-budget projects for small-time gigs, “replacing ‘Ocean’s Eleven’…with ‘the Cake Boss.’”

Guadagno couldn’t immediately provide a breakdown, but promised to find the answer.

Republican Budget Officer Declan O’Scanlon, (R-12), of Little Silver, said that from reading the MPTC report, he understood the net revenue impact was a wash. But that was given a questionable assumption, O’Scanlon said, that the previous film credit had pulled in the entire lot of projects before the tax break expired.

Still making the argument for film exemption, Assemblyman Albert Coutinho, (D-29), of Newark, said, “If (the credit) was there, you’re going to bring other productions that aren’t going to be here (otherwise).”

  Revoked film tax credit not troublesome, Guadagno says; film projects increasing