Highly respected conservative research institute and government watchdog Florida TaxWatch released an analysis yesterday on the state of Florida’s film and television industry that certainly warrants careful reading by anyone with a genuine interest in restoring motion picture production to the Sunshine State. Although this comprehensive report, as so many previous accounts have exhaustively done already, once again relates the well-thrashed story of Florida’s production decline, it ultimately and very significantly gets to the actual heart of the matter, addressing pragmatic truths about the realities of our industry just as we begin to look ahead to the new legislative landscape of 2019.

Click the TaxWatch logo below to read the full report: “Is the Sun Setting on Film in Florida?”

The implication is powerful when, on the last page of the analysis, TaxWatch states that “maintaining the status quo is not a viable option” if ever Florida problem-solvers want to see a return of motion picture production jobs and impact. Even more pointedly on page 13, the research team incontrovertibly asserts – and this from a careful and conservative point of view – that “state-level incentives to stimulate Florida’s film and entertainment industry are both necessary and important.”

Continuing on these final pages to outline four options to rebuild our industry, the TaxWatch research team lists 1) relaunching a tax credits incentives program, 2) extending the focus on local incentives (while underscoring how ineffective this level of incentives actually is at luring large-budget production), 3) encouraging increased private sector involvement, and 4) developing an entirely new program format. We are pleased to see here a reference to the COMPASS-initiated public-private partnership model put forward last year by Senator Annette Taddeo and appreciate that TaxWatch joins us in subscribing to a search outside-the-box for innovative new approaches and other “business-oriented” strategies as an advisable course forward for those of us trying to effectively resolve Florida’s motion picture muddle.

We understand that this work was compiled with the participation of trade association Film Florida, for which we express deep appreciation. Without a doubt, FloridaTaxWatch has produced an insightful analysis, giving all of us a rational and potent reference tool applicable at all levels of Florida government for use in the critical months ahead.

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