Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a $420,000 tax subsidy for the production company that makes the hit TV show “Jersey Shore.” Among Christie's concerns was the negative stereotype of New Jersey depicted in the show.
“I have no interest in policing the content of such projects. However, 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 wrote in a letter to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which authorized the funding.
MTV's “reality”-style show Jersey Shore depicts the vapid lives of a group of 20-somethings in New Jersey. Public drunkenness and frequent sexual encounters are common for the characters.
Christie has long been a critic of the way the show depicts New Jersey.
“What it does is it takes a bunch of New Yorkers … drops them at the Jersey shore, and tries to make America feel like this is New Jersey," Christie said on a July 2010 airing of ABC's “This Week.”
New Jersey's Rutgers University was criticized last fall for paying “Jersey Shore” star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi $32,000 to speak to its students. “Study hard, but party harder,” Polizzi advised the students.
Even Abercrombie & Fitch, the clothing chain criticized for ads with barely-clothed young adults, was worried about having its image tarnished by “Jersey Shore.” The company offered to pay Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino to stop wearing its clothing for fear it would hurt the brand.
The tax credit at issue was designed to encourage TV and film companies to work in the state and create jobs for New Jerseyans.
The veto is a reversal of Christie's earlier position. Though he did not like the show, Christie had previously stated that as long as the show met the eligibility requirements, it should receive the tax credit.
However, New Jersey politicians and public advocacy groups asked Christie to veto the tax credit. “Let us just hope against hope that New Jersey taxpayers don’t end up paying for Snooki’s bail the next time she is arrested. What a terrible, terrible and misguided waste," Democratic State Sen. Paul Sarlo said.
But other legislators had complained when Christie previously vetoed an expansion of the tax credit.
In his typically sarcastic style, Christie wrote in his letter to the Economic Development Authority: “Legislators who championed the Program's original legislation, and who later sponsored legislation to expand it, must surely have appreciated the consequences of their actions. … For such legislators to now complain of its implementation with respect to 'Jersey Shore' is, at best, mystifying.”
One of the most popular politicians among Republicans, Christie is currently traveling across the nation, giving speeches and helping other Republicans raise money for the 2012 election.
Though he has adamantly denied many times in the past that he will seek the presidency this year, speculation of a potential run continues to follow him. Most recently, former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean told National Review Online that Christie is “very seriously” considering jumping into the race.
Christie has been encouraged by many to jump into the race due to concern that no one in the current field is able to clearly articulate a bold, clear, conservative vision for the country.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, a Republican who has encouraged Christie to enter the race, advised GOP candidates in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on Monday, to not “play it safe.”
“I'm a little concerned that … our nominee might just decide ... I'll just play it safe, and I'll get elected as the default option. … What really matters is not just winning the election, important as that is, what matters is winning it on a basis that allows us to make big change.”
Christie is scheduled to give a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, Calif., Tuesday night.