A bill filing in the Senate proposes redirecting Florida’s tourist development tax revenue, typically used for tourism-related projects, to incentivize film and TV crews to move production to Florida
Lawmakers are poised to consider legislation that would allow the use of tourist development tax revenues to fund incentives for film and television productions.
The bill, Senate Bill 872, seeks to amend existing state law to redirect funds traditionally used for tourism-related projects to the entertainment sector.
The tourist development tax, mainly collected from short-term rentals like hotels, is earmarked for facilities like convention centers and sports arenas, as well as for promoting tourism. The bill seeks to expand these uses to include financial incentives for production companies that qualify under a specific state program offering tax exemptions to the entertainment industry.
“All tax revenues received by a county imposing the tourist development tax shall be used by that county … To provide incentives to encourage the production of motion pictures, made-for-TV motion pictures, or television series within the county,” reads the bill.
Stewart’s bill has been referred to the Commerce and Tourism, Finance and Tax, and Appropriations committees.
The State of Florida previously offered tax incentives to production companies, but the program was dissolved after lawmakers voted to consolidate Enterprise Florida and transfer its functions to the Department of Economic Opportunity.
The business recruitment agency was thrust to the centerfold of the larger state budget discussions after House Speaker Paul Renner called for its elimination, stating that it “over-promised and under-delivered for years and drains funds from higher priorities.”
Rep. Tiffany Esposito told the House Ways and Means Committee in April that expunging Enterprise Florida and its associated tax programs would save the state approximately $100 million.