Joe Gruters’ film rebate proposal authorizes first Senate committee


Could a revamped movie rebate program finally come out of development? The Senate Trade and Tourism Committee has given the green light to legislation creating a new program to attract more crews to Florida.

“We could have an all-you-can-eat movie and TV buffet if we just offer a little help,” Sen said. Joe gruters, who has championed a film program for years.

The Republican of Sarasota said his film rebate program as proposed comes with greater liability than that allowed to disappear in 2016. The program offers up to $ 2 million in tax refunds, but only once a project is completed and meets certain criteria.

Requirements include hiring 70% of the Florida State cast and crew.

Movie executives say reviving a state-run film program is critical to keeping cameras rolling in the Sunshine State. Jean Lux, executive director of Film Florida, said the state has lost 100 major film or television productions since a previous incentive program ran out of dollars six years ago and was never replenished. It cost the state $ 1.5 billion in lost business, Lux said.

Meanwhile, Georgia has in recent years become a cinema capital, home to major Marvel movies and the popular ‘The Walking Dead’ TV series.

Florida has a strong infrastructure for films, including sound stages. Plus, schools like Florida State University, Ringling College of Art & Design, and Full Sail University all have strong film programs producing Oscar-winning graduates.

These graduates most often end up leaving the state once they graduate and work for a variety of platforms, whether it’s making movies, creating web content, or directing animation. for advertising and marketing.

“There has never been more content available, which means there has never been more money to make content available,” Lux said. “We want to compete for these projects.

Broward County Democratic Commissioner Steven geller, who as mayor started a local rebate program in South Florida, said many local governments would help with the common mission of attracting film crews. The $ 2 million in state rebates could be added to the $ 500,000 in rebates at Broward, for example, if productions derive 70% of their hires from Broward or Miami-Dade counties.

Not everyone feels so enthusiastic. Philippe Suderman, political director of Americans for Prosperity-Florida, has spoken out against the bill as financially irresponsible.

“Our position is that this is a donation of state taxpayer money to be given to targeted businesses,” he said. “It’s the well-being of businesses.”

Moreover, he said it made no sense to the government. The previous program saw returns of 43 cents in state revenue at best for every dollar spent.

But senators from all parties say it’s important to keep the business in Florida regardless, if there is a responsible program to do so.

Senator Tommy wright, a Republican from Port Orange, complained that even stories set in Florida are continually being filmed elsewhere.

“The movies are produced all over the country and make you think they’re from Florida when they’re not,” he said.

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