A media incentives bill that aims to bolster the film industry here in Florida, is heading to the House Floor after passing through it’s final committee this morning in Tallahassee.
HB 451 being sponsored by State Representative Mike Miller (R-Winter Park) would offer for companies within the film and entertainment industry, pending qualification, certain tax credits and exemptions. Opponents have called it a “give away for Hollywood Tycoons”. Supporters have emphasized credits are only awarded in the form of a “rebate”, after the production has ended and the expenses have been audited.
Fellow Orlando area State Representative Rene Plasencia (R-Orlando), who’s district 49 includes film schools at the University of Central Florida and Full Sail University supported the bill saying, “We talk about not picking favorites in our economy, not picking winners and losers. We’re not picking winners or losers here, and if we are, we’re picking whether the state of Florida is going to be a winner, or the state of Florida is going to be a loser.” he continued saying “Our students deserve to have a market here where they can work.”
Opposition at the hearing was a Representative from Americans for Prosperity which said “Incentive spending, especially for the film industry, is not effective and drains the state of tax revenues of other things it could be used on, like infrastructure and education.”
The vote was 12 to 5 in favor of the legislation.
“This is a very conservative bill that is looking at Florida based businesses only” Miller said in his closing “We do have a great infrastructure, we do have kids coming out of school. We’re saying to the school kids ‘we want you to stay here’, we’re saying to the business owners, ‘we don’t want you to sell your house and move to Georgia’., we’re telling the other 49 states in this business ‘back off’, Florida is the place that should be doing this business, and we can do it better than anybody else”