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Film Florida gives up the fight for incentives this year

The president of Film Florida, the state’s nonprofit “entertainment production association,” says her group is taking a “step back” from fighting for film and TV show incentives this year.

“For the first time since 2004, Florida does not have a statewide program to entice film, television and digital media projects and companies to our state,” wrote Film Florida President Kelly Paige in a Tuesday email to supporters.

As part of a plan to get rid of business incentives deemed “corporate welfare” by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, legislation would “close the Florida Office of Film and Entertainment (the State Film Office)” and “also end the Entertainment Industry Sales Tax Exemption program,” Paige said.

Her group “will continue meeting with and educating legislators so they understand the importance of our industry to Florida’s jobs and tourism economies,” she added.

But “with the philosophical conflict in Tallahassee, we do not believe the time is right for Film Florida to pursue a new program.”

In 2010, lawmakers set aside nearly $300 million for incentives to bring movies and television projects to Florida. That money ran dry soon afterward.

The problem, critics said, was that money was doled out on a “first come, first served” basis. That resulted in available funds being gone within the first year of the program.

The film incentives took the form of tax credits granted a production after it wrapped in the state and underwent a thorough audit, including being able to show it provided jobs for Floridians.

When “the timing is right,” Paige said, the nonprofit has “an innovative plan that will put Floridians to work at home, generate new revenues, increase tourism, and continue the state’s investment in students that earn film or digital media degrees from Florida’s world-renowned colleges, universities and technical schools.”

Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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