NEW YORK (Reuters) - Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey vetoed on Monday a $420,000 film tax credit dubbed the “Snooki Subsidy” for the reality show “The Jersey Shore,” citing the state’s budget crunch.
Christie, a longtime critic of the raucous MTV show that offers a less than flattering portrayal of life in the Garden State, said in a statement the money would be better spent on “projects that actually benefit the state.”
In a letter to the Economic Development Authority, which awarded the hit show $420,000 in film tax credits, Christie said it was not just a matter of money. It was personal, too.
“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,” Christie said in the letter.
Since the show first aired in 2009, the outrageous antics of the tanning-bed loving, party-going cast have made “Snooki” and “The Situation” household names in America.
At the same time, some Italian-Americans insulted by negative stereotypes perpetuated by the cast have called for an end to the show.
While elected officials in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, where the “Jersey Shore” was filmed in its early days, cheered the boost to the local economy, politicians from the rest of the state have been less than thrilled.
Christie, who was never a fan, said that in the current difficult fiscal climate, the state had no business giving the show a tax break.
“We must ensure that our limited taxpayer dollars are spent on programs and projects that best benefit the state of New Jersey,” Christie said in the veto letter.
The response from MTV, which has aired the seaside smackdowns and barroom brawls of both male and female cast members of “Jersey Shore,” was sober and brief.
“The governor’s decision will not impact the show,” MTV spokesman Nathaniel Brown said.
Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Cynthia Johnston