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Georgia voting law prompts Governor Murphy to press Hollywood studios to relocate to New Jersey

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is looking to capitalize on the recent controversy surrounding Georgia’s new voting law, by writing a letter to Hollywood movie studios, including Disney, Netflix, and Warner Bros., with the goal of raising them. draw in the Garden State.

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“I looked at recent Georgia State House decisions with disappointment. Restricting the right to vote is more than just a mistake, it’s not American,” Murphy wrote Thursday. “These voting restrictions propelled Georgia into the national spotlight, with the vast majority seeing the state’s decision as an attack on people of color by a governor and legislature desperate to stay in power.”

Murphy touted New Jersey as “one of the best states in America to live, work and play,” while criticizing Georgia for implementing “new” Jim Crow 2.0 “policies.”

“New Jersey has become one of the most economically and socially progressive states in the country, particularly for the entertainment industry,” said Murphy. “Our new $ 14.5 billion economic incentive program makes the Garden State just as competitive as Georgia in attracting film and television production companies.” The package also has something for almost any industry or project: from a small business looking to buy basic equipment, to a start-up looking for a growth investment, to a company looking for new housing for hundreds of employees. “

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Georgia currently offers film, television and digital entertainment tax credits of up to 30%. In addition, the state’s Entertainment Industry Investment Act provides a 20% tax credit for companies that spend $ 500,000 or more on production and post-production in Georgia, either in a single production, i.e. on multiple projects, and an additional 10% tax credit if the finished project includes a promotional logo provided by the state. If a business has little or no tax liability in Georgia, it can transfer or sell its tax credits. The tax incentives have attracted hundreds of productions since 2005, including Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame” and “Black Panther”.

Murphy pointed out that in addition to offering tax credits of up to 30% of eligible production costs, New Jersey also offers a grant of up to 40% for the development of physical studios. Murphy added that with New Jersey’s “deep” talent pool, the state has the potential to become the primary production epicenter on the East Coast.

“Although we have come to such an advanced stage in just a few short years, we know that there are tremendous opportunities for growth in New Jersey’s entertainment and production industries. One thing is clear: when it comes to social policies, corporate responsibility and – not to be overlooked “Economic opportunity, New Jersey is now a prime candidate for your business,” the letter concludes. “If you are looking to expand, relocate or consolidate yourself, we respectfully invite you to come and experience all that the Garden State has to offer, including our shared values ​​of protecting the rights constitutionally granted to our citizens.”

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Murphy recently signed a law that allows nine days of in-person early voting for the New Jersey general election.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp praised Murphy in a tweet, but noted his state has 17 mandatory early voting days with two additional optional Sundays. Kemp’s press secretary Mallory Blount added in a statement to FOX Business that Georgia also has online voter registration, automatic voter registration and no excuses for absent.

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Some Hollywood heavyweights have said they will boycott filming in the state of Georgia because of the legislation, including “Ford v Ferrari” director James Mangold and “Star Wars” actor Mark Hammill.

Hollywood had a similar answer Georgia’s controversial 2019 bill, although the outcry has hardly prompted studios to film in the state. Meanwhile, in 2016, former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a bill on religious exemptions after studios and other companies threatened to quit if it goes into effect.

Bernice King, executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, urged those promoting the latest boycott rhetoric to stop.

“It would hurt working middle class and people struggling with poverty,” King said. “And that would increase the misdeeds of racism and classism.”

Tyler Perry, who runs his own film and television studio in Atlanta, also called for a boycott.

“I rest my hope that the DOJ is carefully reviewing this unconstitutional voter suppression law reminiscent of the Jim Crow era,” Perry said in a statement. Hollywood journalist. “As some consider boycotting, remember we made Georgia blue and there is a gubernatorial race on the horizon – that’s the beauty of a democracy.”

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While some media companies have issued statements condemning the new Georgian law, none have gone so far as to boycott the state completely. Paramount Pictures’ parent company ViacomCBS was the first major media company to speak out.

“We unequivocally believe in the importance of all Americans having an equal right to vote, and we oppose the recent voting rights law in Georgia or any effort that hinders the ability to exercise this vital constitutional right,” the company wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “Increasing voter access and civic engagement is a key pillar of ViacomCBS’s social impact and we will continue to educate the public on the importance of an open and fair voting system through our programs and extensive partnerships with grassroots organizations that promote and increase voter turnout. . “

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Statements from AT&T, which owns WarnerMedia, Warner Bros., and Atlanta-based CNN, and Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, immediately followed. However, rather than focusing specifically on Georgian legislation, the statements focused more broadly on the right to vote.

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“We believe the right to vote is sacred and we support election laws that allow more Americans to vote in free, fair and secure elections,” AT&T CEO John Stankey said in a statement . “We understand that election laws are complicated, not our company’s expertise and ultimately the responsibility of elected officials. But, as a company, we have a responsibility to engage. For this reason, we work with others. companies through groups like the Business Roundtable to support efforts to improve each person’s voting ability, in which way the right knowledge and expertise can be applied to make a difference on this fundamental and critical issue. “

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“Voting is fundamental to our democracy,” Comcast said in a statement. “We believe that all Americans should have fair access to secure elections, and we have a long history of supporting and promoting voter education, registration and participation campaigns across the country to achieve this goal. Efforts to limit or prevent access to this vital constitutional right for every citizen are inconsistent with our values. “

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Meanwhile, Disney and Netflix have not released any statements on the legislation. Representatives for both companies did not immediately return FOX Business’s requests for comment on Murphy’s letter.

This story was first reported by the Wall Street Journal

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