Originally posted on the Bay News 9 website from Erin Maloney:
Florida has already paid millions of dollars to Hollywood films like “Dolphin Tale” to lure them to our area.
The film industry hopes lawmakers approve $50 million in tax credits, while others question if they’re worth the investment.
Americans for Prosperity Florida is asking lawmakers in Tallahassee to end what it calls “Hollywood handouts.”
“These are monies that could be being used on scholarship programs so kids can get into the best schools they possibly can, not on films, where we should be supporting that industry at the box office,” said Andres Malave with Americans for Prosperity Florida.
The state used to give tax incentives because the films bring money to the area, but it failed to get approved last year, sending movies and commercials to other states where they get more bang for their buck.
Tampa-based talent agent Kelly Page says her company has seen a steep drop since the tax incentives went away.
“We used to have twice as many actors,” Page said. “They have relocated to other states. Literally, seven actors left in one car, and they never came back.”
Page says producers are looking for actors in state like Georgia and Lousiana now because they have healthy tax incentive programs. Some of those programs require hiring local talent, which is why Florida actors and crew members are deciding to leave.
“It’s not just a Hollywood handout,” she said. “These are real people that live here, that have been in this industry, some of them 30 or 40 years. Now because of the incentive programs we want to be able to work in our own state.”
Page had to lay off three of her six employees because cash flow hasn’t been the same in the last two years. Even the commercial business, her bread and butter, has seen a dramatic fall.
The bill to give incentives to filmmakers passed another hurdle in the state Legislature on Wednesday by passing out of committee. Lawmakers won’t have a firm answer on the money until the end of session in May.
Click HERE to read the article on the Bay News 9 website.