NBC Wants Their Big Fat Tax Break, Dammit

0821spring.jpgHere’s an boring-but-interesting one. NBC Universal stands to make millions in tax breaks by relocating NBC Digital to New Jersey… and are currently lobbying Jon Corzine like hell to make sure they get their tax break. Major firms have been called in to generate supports and a large lobbying campaign is taking place in Trenton. In fact, it’s not just NBC: Cisco Systems, Walt Disney and the Motion Picture Association of America all have lobbyists working on the bill.

Here’s the scoop:

  • A proposed bill, which is being pushed by NBC and the other companies named above, would give New Jersey-based companies a tax credit equal to 20 percent of their costs in creating digital material (which includes Internet sites and broadband content). This bill has already made its way through the state Assembly and Senate.

  • NBC Universal has commissioned an Ernst & Young study claiming that the tax break would create 6,850 new jobs (including relocations from New York) and that new economic activity for New Jersey as a result would exceed $1.5 billion. Additionally, state and local tax money by 2012 would exceed $36 million as a result.

  • According to Corzine spokeswoman Lilo Stainton, the governow has “conerns about cost and lack of job creation.”

  • In an interview with the Associated Press, NBC Universal lobbyist Bill Pascrell III implied NBC Digital would scuttle any move to New Jersey if the bill was not passed. He also winked that Connecticut currently offers a digital media tax break. NBC Digital to Stanford?

    NBC also has another vested interest in moving all those jobs to New Jersey: If they don’t, NBC Universal faces an $8 million fine. MSNBC received grants equivalent to that amount in exchange for building their headquarters in Secaucus that were later forfeited by their reloctation to Manhattan. A deal was worked out where the state of New Jersey would reduce future grants to CNBC’s Englewood Cliffs facility by $2.3 million in exchange, but numerous state politicians want to see NBC pay the whole $8 mil back.