A special thanks to all those who were able to join our Board of Directors conference call on Monday, February 29th. For those who were unable to participate, discussions surrounding the current status of our legislative efforts on behalf of Florida’s film, television and digital media industry were a major point of interest given the limited time left before the conclusion of this year’s legislative session.
We understand that many of our members and supporters are concerned about where things stand as we move into the final weeks of session. If you have been following the events of the last week in Tallahassee, you may be aware that we may once again fall victim to the House of Representative’s leadership making uncompromising ideological objections to incentives, which they have openly touted as “corporate welfare”. Language for an entertainment production industry program is currently included in Senator Latvala’s SB1646, which is an economic development bill that includes Governor Scott’s priorities for conservative business incentives. When the House and Senate budget negotiators convened Friday, February 26th, rather than negotiating to a middle ground, the Senate came to the House position and removed the entire $250 million in their budget for the Florida Enterprise Fund residing in Senator Latvala’s SB1646. This presented a major obstacle for our efforts, as our language resides in that same bill. We worked through the weekend to resurrect this bill and as a backstop, we have also come up with alternative budget language. After a long weekend, SB1646 was added to what we believe will be the final meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow, March 3rd. Please remember, we have a strong Government Relations team in The Advocacy Group at Cardenas Partners LLC, in addition to our leaders in Film Florida and our important industry partners. In addition to SB1646, we are pursuing budgetary language for our industry.
It is important that we stand together as an industry during this time of uncertainty. We are hopeful that leaders in the legislature understand the importance of job growth, economic and tourism development, and will support our program above political relationships and personal agendas. Despite the current status of the economic incentive package, we have not given up and will continue to fight for this very important industry in Florida.
Please stand by for any urgent calls to action. We thank you for your dedication and support, and will continue to provide updates at each turn.