-Florida House Economic Development and Tourism Subcommittee Passes HB 451-

Members and supporters of The Whole Picture: Saving Florida Film and Digital Jobs coalition today applauded the Florida House Economic Development and Tourism Subcommittee for passing House Bill 451 sponsored by Rep. Mike Miller (R-Winter Park). The bill gained overwhelming bipartisan support in the committee, and aims to save Florida film and digital jobs while attracting more business and tourists to the state. With more than 16,000 Florida-based companies providing local jobs, the film, entertainment, and digital industry is worth saving.

Rep. Miller presented on the bill stating, “Why am I here before you today? Because there are 39 states aggressively pursuing our TV, film, and digital media industry. Many of [our] graduates…are leaving to move to Georgia, Louisiana, California…Film, digital media firms are looking elsewhere to work and hire…I want to take a statute that is in place now and improve it. This is a very conservative program based on Florida businesses; based on double auditing.”

Several committee members voiced their support of the measure and highlighted the positive impact this industry has on Florida:

  • Rep. Patrick Rooney (R-Palm Beach Gardens) commented, “In this case, I’m looking more from a business perspective…My experience with the film industry is that they were here when we were giving them incentives and as soon as we stopped, they left. I think the film industry is one of those things that we can really grow here.”
  • “You have to do a cost benefit analysis to see if the benefits outweigh the costs and I believe in this instance it does… Do we need incentives to bring people here? I believe so…It doesn’t just affect the film industry. It affects industries surrounding wherever these productions take place,” said Rep. Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach).
  • Rep. Mike La Rosa (R-St. Cloud) stated, “After talking with multiple members within my district that are in the film industry, this is truly not a Hollywood bailout or a Hollywood handout.”
  • Rep. Ray Pilon (R-Sarasota) spoke specifically on the merits of the bill stating, “I think it’s [the bill] the right way to go. I think it is…accountability…It is return on investment. I cannot see any of the logic in people saying it is picking winners and losers…Congratulations on putting together a bill that meets all the qualifications that we want for jobs in this state.”
  • “It’s not a Hollywood giveaway…There is no reason why Florida shouldn’t be the leader, especially on the East Coast, for productions…We have a brain drain. We have universities that are producing students that have the ability to produce films, that do writing, that do production work, and they are leaving this state for other places and I think that is a shame,” said Rep. Edwin Narain (D-Tampa).
  • Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Ft. Meyers) focusing on the impact the industry has on tourism stated, “Once a program has been shot here…people actually come for tourism to see those spots… we will be able to continue to build upon the benefits of having films here by increasing our tourism.”
  • “I look at the diversity that this industry brings to this state, and how I come from labor and how labor has helped get jobs, making sure people have future jobs. I think this bill is a positive step,” said Democratic Ranking Member Rep. Victor Torres (D-Orlando).

Members and supporters of the industry and program present at the meeting who waived their time in support of the bill included, the Associated Industries of Florida, City of Jacksonville, Comcast, Congress of Motion Picture Associations of Florida, Electronic Arts, Entertainment Software Association, Film Florida, Florida Association of Counties, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Tax Watch, Miami-Dade County, Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Palm Beach County, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa Hillsborough Film Commission, Universal Studios, and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Senate Bill 1046 sponsored by Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice) is another bill filed that deals with the program. Both bills seek to strengthen the industry and expand economic development and jobs for Floridians.

The facts of the current program paint a clear picture as to why it is valuable to Florida:

  • $15:$1 … Return on Investment (ROI) to the State’s Gross Domestic Project (GDP) as estimated by a 2012 Florida Economic & Demographic Research perspective analysis.
  • $4.1 Billion … Projected positive economic impact from 2010 – 2016 in Florida as estimated by a 2012 EDR perspective analysis.
  • $70,000+ … Average annual wage of film and digital media professionals, well over Florida’s annual average wage of $42,800. (Office of Film and Entertainment Annual Report, 2013-2014)
  • 16,000+ … Florida-based companies supporting film and digital media, ready to begin work in the industry. (Based on NAICS codes in 2013 to include traditional content productions, post production, visual FX, game/website/mobile app development)
  •  5:1 ROI … Florida’s program produces a strong Return on Investment to the State.

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About The Whole Picture: Saving Florida Film and Digital Jobs

Members supporting the Entertainment Industry Tax Credit Program and Florida’s film and digital jobs include Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Film Florida, Motion Picture Association of America, Entertainment Software Association and many organizations, associations, businesses, economic development councils and ancillary entities.