Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.
Sen. Joe Gruters filed a bill Thursday that would set up a targeted rebate program aimed at luring film and television productions to Florida.
SB 704 would set up the “Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program” under the Department of Economic Opportunity.
The program would offer film, TV and digital media productions a rebate for the lesser of 20% or $2 million of production costs if they get preapproved as a “certified project.”
To get certified, studios must rent equipment such as cameras, vehicles or lighting setups from Florida businesses; spend at least 70% of its budget or production days in Florida; employ a majority Floridian cast and crew, one of whom is majority veteran; and meet minimum budget requirements — $1.5 million for films or $500,000 per episode for TV or streaming episodes.
Projects could qualify for another 3% cashback if they spend 75% of their overall budget in Florida or if they are deemed “family-friendly” by the Commissioner of Film and Entertainment and a council.
Gruters, a Sarasota Republican, filed a nearly identical bill in 2020. It cleared one committee before it fizzled despite strong support from the business community and Film Florida, a statewide association that advocates for pro-film policy.
The 2021 effort has again drawn support from the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Florida as well as government watchdog Florida TaxWatch, which has analyzed past iterations and found they would produce a net gain for the state by way of tax collections.
A year later, FTW stands by that determination.
“Florida TaxWatch research shows that a film incentive program could create jobs for Florida residents, promote Florida tourism, pump additional revenue into local businesses, and generate state and local revenues,” the group wrote in a statement.
“Florida lawmakers need to recognize the value of this industry and leverage its ability to bring in serious cash flow into communities that desperately need it. Now is the time for Florida to build a new incentive program.”
— 1,584,442 FL residents (+12,602 since Wednesday)
— 29,442 Non-FL residents (+271 since Wednesday)
— 13,240 Travel related
— 592,628 Contact with a confirmed case
— 17,960 Both
— 960,614 Under investigation
— 69,282 in FL
— 25,128 in FL
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Quote of the Day
“Pandemics and viruses were here before us. They will be here after us. And so, we have to be ready for the next time. Hopefully, very soon, we can get back to life as we knew it, you know, and get out of this new normal.” — Sen. Danny Burgess, saying the Senate pandemic committee will outline steps to handle future pandemics.
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