Taxpayer dollars may be paying for those cool shades (Bobby Bank/WireImage.com)(Yahoo! Buzz) — The state of New Jersey's Economic Development Authority will pay $420,000 in costs associated with the production of the hugely popular (and hugely controversial) MTV series "Jersey Shore."
News that the government will help pay for a show that does little to enrich the state's image hasn't gone unnoticed. According to Philadelphia's WPVI-TV, Republican Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon told the statehouse bureau of the Star-Ledger of Newark and the Record newspaper he can't believe taxpayers are paying "for fake tanning for 'Snooki' and 'The Situation.'"
Democratic state Sen. Joe Vitale is asking GOP Gov. Chris Christie to veto the tax credit. According to NorthJersey.com, Vitale said the show is "disparaging to Italian-Americans."
Andre DiMino, president of the Italian-American ONE VOICE Coalition, 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."
Christie is aware of the controversy. But according to a spokesperson quoted in the New Jersey Star-Ledger, he can't veto an EDA action "that is in compliance with non-discretionary, existing law."
But there is a reason behind the tax break. Kenneth Hershey, the mayor of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, claims the show helps his town's economy. "The boost to the economy certainly shows. When they are here, this place is busy. A lot of the business folks here appreciate that."
The show, currently in its fourth season, remains hugely popular, despite public outcry that it paints Italian-Americans in a negative light, not to mention anyone who goes to a tanning salon.
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