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Last updateMon, 29 Apr 2019 1pm

Politics

Governor Christie Vetoes the Jersey Shore

Governor Christie Vetoes Jersey ShoreIt was rumored that New Jersey residents would pay $420,000 in production costs for the inaugural 2009 season of MTV’s, “Jersey Shore,” last week.

This tax break was awarded to the reality series by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, as part of their tax credit program.

This was one of the first tax credits the EDA approved since Governor Chris Christie suspended the program in 2010, in order to close the state’s budget deficit.

However, on September 26, Christie announced he would veto the award.

In a statement to the EDA, Christie stated, “In this difficult fiscal climate, the taxpayers of New Jersey should not be forced to subsidize projects such as ‘Jersey Shore’…I am duty-bound to ensure taxpayers are not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the state and its citizens.”

Kaelyn Crede, a junior, is upset about the stereotypes the “Jersey Shore” has developed. “When I travel, people from all over the country assume that everyone from our state is like the characters on the Jersey Shore. It’s an awful image for us to have and I’m glad Christie made the decision he did.”

Christie further expressed tax dollars should only go towards programs that benefit the state.

Senior Heather Baginski agreed, “$420,000 could have done so much more for children who need school supplies or funding for significant programs, to avoid ending up like those fools on the show.”

Created by University Alum Anthony Beltempo, “Jersey Shore” has invoked controversy since its inception.

Though popular with MTV viewers, the program has often drawn the ire of one of the nation’s leading Italian-American groups, UNICO National.

Upon hearing of the tax credit, its President Andre DiMino said, “The Economic Development

Authority has abrogated the public trust by awarding a tax credit to a show that not only stereotypes Italians but promotes violence, and cast members who revel in openly breaking the law.”

“‘Jersey Shore’ has a negative impact on how everyone views the real Jersey Shore,” said History and Education major John Dorsi, agreeing with Christie’s stance. “I’m also offended as an Italian.”

In addition to New Jersey residents, several politicians were outraged by the original announcement. State Senator Joseph Vitale (DMiddlesex) had immediately called for Christie to veto the “Jersey Shore” tax credit, and later commended the Republican’s action. “It’s about the words, and words matter. The words the cast members use to describe Italian-Americans [are disparaging]. It wouldn’t be an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars to support that kind of language.”

Although State Senator Paul Sarlo (DBergen) too praised Christie’s veto, he is one of many who feel the incentives are a good way to stimulate business in New Jersey.

According to its website, the EDA describes the agency’s purpose as, “Being a catalyst for creating jobs and promoting economic growth in the state.”

The show’s production company, 495 Productions, said it brought $2.1 million into New Jersey, as well as making Seaside Heights a hot tourist attraction again.

“Hopefully [Christie will] work with us to revamp the program for worthwhile projects,” said Sarlo, who is pursuing legislation to increase the tax initiative, reported NJ.com. This is unlikely as Christie has always been critical of the program, even stating in his address that, “I have no interest in policing the content of eligible projects.”

However, if this is true, it begs the question as to why then the governor vetoed the “Jersey Shore” award, a decision based on its negative content. As the guidelines of the tax program stand, content is not a factor.

This has led some to suggest the specifications should be revamped.

“Who receives tax credits should be based on if the program’s quality or not. [“Jersey Shore”] should be canceled. It’s complete drivel,” offered Dorsi.

HBO’s “The Sopranos” filmed in the Garden State for several years.

While a success among viewers and critics, the award-winning series was not without controversy. The mob drama was disparaged for several of the same reasons “Jersey Shore” is—perpetuating negative Italian-American stereotypes. Would this scripted show of quality have earned its tax breaks under Christie?

The only reason another acclaimed HBO drama, “Boardwalk Empire,” which chronicles Prohibition in Atlantic City, shoots in Brooklyn is that New York offered better tax incentives for filming, at a time when Christie was suspending New Jersey’s.

As such, the State gets nothing back from a show whose New Jersey locale is so essential.

Today, the television programs New Jersey residents are left with to represent them and help support them financially, are unrefined ones like “Jerseylicious” and “Jersey Couture.” Reality shows both modeled on the “Jersey Shore.”

Whether other New Jersey politicians and residents will agree with Christie’s decision will be determined soon enough.

PHOTO COURTESY of poponthepop.com

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