Governor Signs Bill Giving Economic Incentives to Film
– Recognizing that creating jobs for New Jersey must be our
top priority, Governor James E. McGreevey signed into law
today the New Jersey Film Production Assistance Program, which
is designed to attract more film industry projects to the
325,000 jobs have been lost across the country this year, we
have created nearly 35,000 new jobs, and are the only state
among the eight most populous in the nation whose unemployment
is below the national average. But I am by no means
satisfied,” said McGreevey. “The Film Production
Assistance Program is yet another way we are bringing new
business and new jobs to the State.” National research
shows that for every dollar spent in film production, two
dollars on average is created in additional spending.
To kick off
the initiative, the Governor was joined by a host of
celebrities including William Baldwin, Alec Baldwin, Paul
Sorvino and Michelle Lee, as well as Sopranos’ actors
Federico Castellucio and Vincent Curatola. Also at the
event was legislative sponsor Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, as
well as New Jersey Film Commission Chairman Michael Proscia
and New Jersey AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech.
Jersey Film Production Assistance Program is designed to
attract greater industry investments and create more
jobs. The program offers guaranteed loans and tax
credits, in addition to State surplus property that could be
used for projects. Until now, film projects did not meet
Economic Development Authority (EDA) eligibility requirements
because of their temporary nature. Previously, EDA’s enabling
legislation, required that for each $35,000 in EDA financing,
at least one permanent, full-time job be created. The new law amends EDA’s enabling legislation
requiring applicants for assistance to create permanent
bill, we designed an incentive program around the needs of the
film industry with elements such as changing EDA requirements
to allow for temporary projects like filming a movie or
offering State surplus property for a television series," said
McGreevey. "This film program is representative of ways
we can be smarter and more innovative to prosper in these
tough economic times."
be eligible for the program, at least one-half of material and
production costs must be spent in New Jersey, more than
two-thirds (70 percent) of the shooting days must take place
in the State, and the prevailing wage must be paid to workers
employed in a project under the program. Loan guarantees cannot not
exceed 30 percent of the bank financing cost of the project,
or $1.5 million, whichever is lower, and the project must
possess performance bonds.
If at any time the EDA determines that
a film production company does not meet the established
criteria, financial assistance can be withdrawn.
“This new law is opening up this
incentive program to the film industry,” said EDA Executive
Director Caren Franzini. “The good news for New Jersey is that
this new financing tool to attract this industry to our state
has no impact on the state budget.”
Franzini noted that the EDA does not
utilize monies from the state general fund for its EDA’s loan
guarantee program, which goes unchanged by the new law. Under
the new law, the EDA will guarantee repayment of a portion of
the principal of a loan made by a bank or other financial
The EDA will also propose regulations
which will require that the distribution of the film be
verified prior to receiving EDA assistance, and that funding
must already be in place through a financial institution with
film industry experience.
Jersey cannot afford to sit back and watch film production
companies be lured away to Canada and Europe," said
Assemblyman Louis D. Greenwald (D-Camden). "New Jersey already
offers a full spectrum of shooting locations, an ample source
of supporting businesses and a readily available workforce.
The assistance program will complement these characteristics
by providing the economic incentive needed to attract the film
and TV industry in today's fiscal climate."
Jersey is the birthplace of many well-known, respectable
actors," said Assemblyman Anthony Impreveduto (D-Hudson).
"Fostering a healthy production industry within the state will
put New Jersey on the map for making movies and TV shows, as
well. The Film Industry Assistance Program will bring in more
revenue and give New Jerseyans another reason to be proud of
this measure, New Jersey is finally going to have the
opportunity to make a name for itself as a national leader in
film production," said Senator Joseph F. Vitale, D-Middlesex.
"Today marks the beginning of an exciting time for our state,
as we welcome an industry which will create thousands of jobs
for New Jersey residents."
law will ensure that New Jersey no longer loses valuable,
job-creating film projects to other countries and other states
in the U.S.," said Senator Shirley K. Turner, D-Mercer.
"New Jersey is a richly diverse state and cities like Trenton
are in a unique position to experience economic revitalization
through this new state industry."
addition, under regulations, EDA could also place a program
incentive fee on the project, enabling the Authority to be
compensated on a percentage of the loan guarantee amount. This
would allow the Authority to benefit from film products that
are successful, which would help the Authority defray the
costs of those projects that do not see profits and are unable
to honor their bank loan, thus exposing the Authority.
Sponsors have indicated their desire to work with EDA on this
Under the McGreevey Administration,
the EDA has invested $1.4 billion in 493 projects, supporting
2,632 new jobs and 7,192 construction jobs.
present, more than 30 states offer film industry incentives to
create more jobs in their state, with more competition coming
from abroad in places like Canada, Australia and New
past year the New Jersey film and television industry enjoyed
its most successful year ever. A record 801
productions were filmed, generating $70.2 million.
Variety magazine, in its most recent survey, ranked New
Jersey as the fifth most active state for film and television
production in the nation.
Jersey Film Production Assistance Program will serve as yet
another economic engine for the state. Earlier this month, the
Governor highlighted ways that the business sector can use the
new BEIP program to their advantage. Both programs focus
on job creation and long-term economic development.