Citing budget concerns and the harm he says the show does to New Jersey's image, on Monday Governor Chris Christie vetoed an extension of the $420,000 tax credit that Jersey Shore has been getting from the state.
The credit has apparently become known as the "Snooki Subsidy."
This was part of a $10 million program under which New Jersey gives a tax credit to eligible film and TV productions in the state. "I have no interest in policing the content of such projects," Christie said in his veto message, but "as chief executive, I am duty-bound to ensure that taxpayers are not footing a $420,000 bill for a project which does nothing more than perpetuate misconceptions about the state and its citizens."
Actually, this does seem a little like policing the content of such projects. (For example, Christie did not veto credits for "Hell in a Cell," described as "a collection of live wrestling shows," which the state could also probably do without.) And while I am pretty sure this action would survive a First Amendment challenge – the state has an interest in cutting the budget, and it's not like he's banning production – some filmmakers did argue that it would have a "chilling effect." Others pointed out that the show spends over $2 million (apparently per season) in the state every year, which is not a bad return on $420,000. On the other hand, where else are they going to film "Jersey Shore"?
What? Italy? Are you serious? Okay.
Andre DiMino, the president of an anti-Italian-American-discrimination group, called the decision "absolutely outstanding." He has never been a big fan of the show, having called it "reprehensible and demeaning in all respects," and an "embarrassment" without "redeeming value." Yeah, but whaddaya gonna do?
The decision "will not impact the show," said an MTV spokesperson, with some understatement. Jersey Shore is MTV's highest-rated ever, and is apparently bringing in enough cash that the cast members are now getting paid $100,000 per episode. In other words, the total amount of the credit was what The Situation gets paid for only four weeks of "work." Obviously, stronger action is needed.
Coincidentally or not, Christie is rumored to be considering a run for the White House.