Three Senate committee referrals have been set for SB 1606 – legislation introduced last week by Senator Annette Taddeo (D – District 40, Miami) to establish the Florida Motion Picture Capital Corporation and jumpstart film production in our state. Representatives David Silvers (D – District 87, Palm Beach) and Joe Gruters (R – District 73, Sarasota) are co-prime sponsors of the House companion bill, HB 341.
In the upper chamber, the legislation must first be heard by the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism, which approved the 2016 version of this bill last year, before passing before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development and ultimately the full Appropriations Committee.
We are working now to build bi-partisan support in the Senate and schedule meetings with committee members prior to the scheduling of public hearings.
Among related developments, film incentives programs in several other states are coming increasingly under the legislative microscope, being either cut back or potentially eliminated as most recently in West Virginia (here). Whether due to questions over economic impact, as in the Mountain State, or ideological opposition to the fundamental concept of incentives, as in the Carolinas, Louisiana and Texas, more and more states are anticipated to dramatically reduce their reliance on tax credit incentives programs to attract motion picture production in the years immediately ahead.
While Americans for Prosperity yesterday wrongly categorized SB 1606 and HB 341 as “a new film incentives program” and consequently something to be vigorously opposed (here), COMPASS projects that by being first to offer a viable alternate business model not based on tax dollar giveaways, Florida will also be first in line to capitalize on the accelerating decline of the incentives stratagem nationwide.
“Newest Senate Bill Addresses Florida Film Production Problems,” a radio spot composed by WFSU reporter Andrew Quintana and including interviews from the January 10th press event at the Capitol, is helping to spread the story of our effort to enact legislation that will stabilize and rebuild motion picture production in Florida. Click on the WFSU logo at left to read and hear this spot.
The press event at the Capitol in Tallahassee – held yesterday by Senator Annette Taddeo to announce her introduction of SB 1606 – received broad and satisfactory coverage from the Florida media. We were pleased to be joined by our House prime sponsors, Representatives Joe Gruters and David Silvers, both of whom added very effective commentary to the Senator’s address regarding the formation of the Florida Motion Picture Capital Corporation and its potential impact on film production in our state. House co-sponsors Asencio, Cortes, and Mercado, Senator Vic Torres and Representative Joe Geller, and Ken Williams and Larry Dupree from IBT Local 79 also attended.
Although the term “incentives” continues to find its way into coverage of our legislation, which indicates the amount of work still ahead if we are ever to disengage the media from publicizing our effort as just another form of tax dollar giveaway, one news source released an article more correctly aligned with the facts. Reporter James Call at the Democrat Capitol commendably steered clear of this inaccurate word in his article “Lights! Action! Lawmakers seek funding to grow Florida’s film industry.”
We also located video that, though with shaky sound quality, provides a complete record of the event. In this 15-minute Florida Politics video from Capitol correspondent Jim Roscia, Senator Taddeo provides an opening statement, Representative Gruters speaks at the 3:05 mark, Representative Silvers follows at the 5:25 mark, COMPASS chair Chris Ranung adds comments at the 7:30 mark, and a Q&A rounds out the presentation.
At the podium clockwise from top-left: Senator Annette Taddeo, Representative Joe Gruters, Chris Ranung, Representative David Silvers.
COMPASS Chair, Chris Ranung is twenty-plus years a filmworker and president of Local 477 of the I.A.T.S.E. – the AFL-CIO affiliated labor union that represents working crew in Florida: grips, lighting technicians, paint & scenic, wardrobe, construction and propmakers, craft service personnel, greens, set dressing, special effects technicians, sound mixers and sound department personnel, studio teachers, animal wranglers, first aid, the marine department and much more.
Chris believes ardently that Florida’s film community – its actors, working crew, production teams, supplementary personnel, support businesses – ranks among the best in the United States. He sees COMPASS as the necessary vehicle to reinvigorate production and restore jobs, revenue, and dignity to the Florida men and women who work in motion picture production and the Florida small businesses that sustain this historically important Florida industry.