Originally posted on the Sunshine State News website from Kevin Derby:
The battle over Florida’s Entertainment Industry Tax Credit Program intensified this week even as a key Senate committee passed a bill supporting it without opposition.
Backed by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, and Rep. Mike Miller, R-Winter Park, a legislative measure to keep the tax credit appears to be picking up steam. The Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism passed Detert’s bill without opposition on Tuesday and the “Whole Picture: Saving Florida Film and Digital Jobs Coalition” has rounded up some of the leadership of the business community behind the legislation.
“It will make us more than competitive with other states,” Detert said about her bill on Wednesday. “One of the big reasons we want to do this is jobs for Florida. It is an industry that we can provide an educated workforce instantly. It’s about high-paying jobs, and it blends perfectly with our tourism.”
“We have a great film school at FSU,” noted Miller. “We have Full Sail and UCF down in Orlando. These kids are getting great, high-level degrees and are going to California, Georgia and Louisiana, and that is a shame. We want them to stay here and raise their families. Ultimately, this is a jobs bill.”
In the meantime, the Whole Picture has been showcasing support for the bill, noting the Florida Chamber of Commerce was backing the bill as was Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. The group also released a letter to Miller from Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch,
“A well-designed entertainment industry program can certainly increase the number of productions occurring in the Sunshine State,” Calabro wrote. “When all benefits are considered, Florida’s program may be already paying off. We commend you for focusing on refining the program with an eye on maximizing its return on investment for Florida taxpayers.”
The Whole Picture continues to highlight the benefits of the entertainment industry and the program to Florida, insisting on Wednesday these efforts bring in strong returns on investment, high-paying jobs, add more than $4 billion annually to the economy and employ 170,000 Floridians.
But Americans for Prosperity’s (AFP) Florida chapter continues to oppose the legislation, announcing on Thursday a mass mailing took place this week targeting both Detert and Milleron the issue.
“Giving away taxpayers’ hard-earned money to Hollywood executives is not good for Floridians and we are going to make sure the taxpayers in Sen. Detert and Rep. Miller’s district know it,” said Chris Hudson, AFP’s director in Florida. “Our mailers are just the latest effort to hold accountable the politicians who support corporate welfare. The governor said ‘Floridians can spend their money better than government can.’ We hope Gov. Scott, Sen. Detert, Rep. Miller and other politicians will reconsider their support for corporate welfare like the film incentive program.”
Click HERE to read the article on the Sunshine State News website.