Originally posted on the Sunshine State News website from Kevin Derby:
The fight over using public funds and incentives to lure entertainment companies to the Sunshine State intensified on Thursday. Supporters of the Entertainment Industry Tax Credit Program pointed to a recent Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) report, disagreeing with much of its conclusions that found little return of investment.
Rep, Mike Miller, R-Winter Park, showcased his bill which incorporates performance standards and requirements for the Entertainment Industry Tax Credit Program.
“It seems that the EDR report tells only one side of the story, leaving the best statistics on the cutting room floor,” said Miller. “It’s time to rewrite the script to ensure Floridians know exactly how the Florida Film Tax Credit Program has had a significant return on investment when it comes to film and digital jobs.”
Miller and the newly launched “The Whole Picture: Saving Florida Film and Digital Jobs” coalition claimed luring film and other media projects to the Sunshine State provided a strong return of investment, high paying jobs, and added $4.1 billion to Florida’s economy from 2010 to the present. The new group includes the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF), the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Film Florida, MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America), ESA (Entertainment Software Association) and other companies.
“While this issue is debated, Florida’s neighbors are reaping the economic benefits of countless film and entertainment projects,” said former U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney, R-Fla., the president and CEO of AIF. “This state cannot cut businesses off at the knee, and expect continued growth and stability. We must have a well-rounded portfolio of industries that employ our workforce and bring greater innovation to this state. The film and entertainment industry can do just that for our state.”
“Florida is falling behind in attracting and securing film, television and commercial productions,” said David Hart, the executive vice president of the Florida Chamber. “Students graduating from Florida’s top film and digital colleges and universities are seeking employment in states like Georgia and Louisiana where elected officials have embraced these economic development measures.”
But fiscal conservative group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) launched a new radio ad on Thursday urging Floridians to “stop the Hollywood handouts” by opposing public funds and tax credits going to entertainment projects and sports stadiums.
“Florida legislators should be on watch — Americans for Prosperity will not let them off easy for their corporate welfare habit,” said Chris Hudson, AFP’s director in Florida. “The evidence is in: the only winners in the sports incentive game are the recipients. Taxpayers lose their money and no significant jobs or tourism is generated. Our lawmakers should be embarrassed for getting caught while stealing bases. Instead, some want to double down and spend even more. AFP will inform Floridians and help them hold their legislators accountable.”
AFP released an infographic last month which found film incentives fail to produce long-term jobs and that public money used to lure entertainment projects to Florida have failed to make much lasting economic impact.
Click HERE to read the article on the Sunshine State News website.