bipartisan group of lawmakers wants to bring back home a Florida industry lured away by tax breaks. Rep.Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, and Sen. Annette Taddeo, D- Miami, Wednesday called on lawmakers to create the Florida Motion Picture Capital Corporation.
Their idea is to create a fund to help finance the production of motion pictures, television shows, and novellas. SB 1606 is the first step, said Taddeo and Gruters. It sets the “infrastructure” of a corporation, which invests in projects and then uses the returns on the investments to rebuild an industry that producers say has flat-lined in Florida.
Taddeo and Gruters make no request for money from the state budget, this year. They want to debate the idea of a fund and work out the procedures to invest in projects first. Then next year, they would seek startup money – between $10 million and $20 million.
"It’s a great use of money in creating jobs and asking for investments,” said Taddeo.
Five years ago, a tax-credit fund the Florida Legislature created for film productions ran out of money. Since then, producers have chosen Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas over Florida – attracted by tax credits as high as 30 percent.
Gruters and Rep. David Silvers, D-West Palm Beach, will work the proposal in the House. They are prepared for opposition from House Speaker Richard Corcoran who has bitterly opposed incentives and tax credits to entice businesses.
“We’re not talking about incentives,” said Gruters when asked about potential pushback from Corcoran. “This is good government because it creates jobs and puts money in people’s pockets. I think the investment we make is worth every penny.”