The facts speak for themselves in this good article from Florida Today, “Should ‘Florida’ movies be made outside Florida?” However, it’s certainly debatable whether outgoing Governor Rick Scott “has been a fairly good producer for the film and entertainment industry in the Sunshine State.”
Our state continues to get its clock cleaned, losing Florida-themed shows and millions of production dollars to incentives havens across the country, in particular Georgia and California. The downside began under Rick Scott’s tenure and has only accelerated over recent years due to the tenacity of conservative opposition, the bull-headedness of House Speaker Richard Corcoran, and the unwillingness of our Governor – at any point over his two long terms – to make a stand and defend this historically important Florida industry.
So what’s the moral of this story? Look ahead everybody . . . to November.
Reporter Wayne T. Price makes a key point in his article by asserting that “a looming question for the industry is where dozens of new legislators and a new governor will stand on incentives for Florida’s film and entertainment industry.” Who the new governor and those new legislators will be is up to us. In just six months we can help our industry by voting in the mid-term elections. So it’s now time for every advocate of Florida film to look locally, evaluate upcoming primaries, and identify and support state Senate and House candidates who will work on our behalf.
And it’s now time to look statewide, to identify and support a candidate for governor who will fight for us.
The next six months is our critical window to meet potential candidates in person and grill them on where they stand – will they fight for our jobs, will they help rebuild our infrastructure, do they believe in us? Then we must take it one step further: ultimately when we decide which ones warrant our support, that support must be active and visible.
Once again, it’s election season in Florida. The work is just beginning.