Fate of Florida movie and entertainment office debated

Lawmakers have pondered the fate of an office that seeks to bolster Florida’s entertainment industry, as the House moves to eliminate the state’s corporate recruiting agency and a slew of recruitment programs. economic development.

The House Commerce Committee on Friday voted 16 to 3 to move forward with a priority (HB 5) from House Speaker Paul Renner to shut down the business recruiting agency Enterprise Florida. Several lawmakers have expressed concern over the inclusion of the Office of Film and Entertainment, which provides services to Florida’s entertainment industry, in a list of programs and incentives that would be repealed.

Rep. Allison Tant, D-Tallahassee, said repealing the office could affect Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts.

“FSU is hugely successful, one of the top film schools in the country. We generate a lot of talent from this school,” said Tant, who was among three lawmakers who voted against the bill. “And besides, there are people here, living here, who were just in the famous movie ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’, as well as ‘Bloodline’, which was made in Florida under all of that. So these opportunities for us in Florida generate both jobs and commerce.

With Renner saying Enterprise Florida and other economic development efforts have “lost their point,” the bill calls for the repeal of 25 programs and incentives. Enterprise Florida’s duties would be transferred to the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The bill’s sponsor, Tiffany Esposito, R-Fort Myers, said programs and incentives targeted for repeal have a low return on investment. But she said discussions were ongoing about the Office of Film and Entertainment on “how, or if, we transfer this to the DEO (the Department of Economic Opportunity)”.

A report by the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research listed six incentives and investments, out of 29 offered by the state, that provided more than a $1 return for every $1 spent.

The Entertainment Industry Sales Tax Exemption Program earned 49 cents on every dollar invested, and the Entertainment Industry Financial Incentives Program tax credits earned 7 cents on the dollar.

Rep. Kristen Arrington, D-Kissimmee, said lawmakers should consider more than just return on investment because many incentive programs provide “meaningful benefits” through capital investments, wages and jobs.

Esposito said the state conference on revenue estimation, a group of economists, should estimate the tax impact of the proposed changes before the bill goes to the House Appropriations Committee. The bill will have to clear the ways and means committee before going to the appropriations committee.

The proposal would allow tourism marketing agency Visit Florida and the Florida Sports Foundation to enter into agreements to continue operations under the direction of the Department of Economic Opportunity.

A separate measure also passed in the House seeks to transfer Space Florida’s programs to the Department of Economic Opportunity and give the governor more control over Space Florida’s board of directors.


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