Florida house files bill to end tax exemption for film productions

Democrats oppose the removal of the tax break

By Gabriella Geisinger 24 Apr 2023

Florida house files bill to end tax exemption for film productions
Moonlight filming in South Beach Miama; Cr: A24

Florida's house voted to file a bill that would overhaul most of the state's tax credits, including those for film and TV productions

The House Appropriations Committee passed the main bill, HB 5, on a Republican party-line vote with Democrats opposed. 

In addition to HB5, they also passed a bill (PCB APC 23-05) which wholly eliminates the tax rebate program for film, TV, video games, music videos, commercials and other entertainment productions.

Democrats’ main opposition to the measures was over the removal of the tax break for the film industry worth about $25 million per year. Many democrats noted that nearby US states, like Georgia and North Carolina, have more robust film incentive programs that lure productions away from Florida.

Mike Gottlieb, a Davie Democrat, said: "Every year there seems to be a bill discouraging the film industry. They’re filming shows in North Carolina pretending that it’s Florida and we're missing out."

Republican Representative Randy Fine described it as eliminating a special tax loophole. Fine and many other representatives signed a pledge not to increase taxes and refuted the idea the bill was a tax increase.

However, state economists project it will have a positive recurring impact of $20.6 million on state coffers and $5.5 million on local governments (i.e., an increase in tax revenue).

Additionally, according to the House of Representatives professional staff analysis for HB 5, the bill contained a tax increase by virtue of a provision to eliminate a state tax exemption.

A Senate companion has not yet been introduced. Eight current members of the Florida Senate have also signed Norquist’s pledge not to raise taxes.

Absent the support of those members, the Senate would presumably not have a supermajority to pass a similar tax increase.

Paul Sirmons, a former Florida State Film Commissioner said, "By definition of the Florida Constitution this is a tax increase," adding, "We conservative Republicans don’t raise taxes" and referenced the representatives who signed the pledge not to increase tax.

A Senate companion bill has not yet been introduced, but it could be part of budget negotiations between the chambers in the final two weeks of the Regular Session, which is set to end May 5.

and without the support of the eight current members of the Florida Senate who have also signed the pledge not to raise taxes, it is unlikely the Senate would gain the supermajority necessary to pass a similar tax increase.


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