The readers’ forum

Keep the entertainment industry in Florida

 

A good investment is measured by its return, and, a 5.6-to-1 return on investment (ROI) is, undeniably, a winning proposition for Florida’s workforce, businesses and families. This ROI is exactly what Florida’s entertainment industry is offering — for every one dollar the state invests in the entertainment industry, $5.60 comes back into our state’s economy. And, $5.60 is a modest estimate. Some believe that the return could be as high as $20.50.

A proposal in the Florida Legislature, Senate Bill 1734 sponsored by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Sarasota, would extend the life of the overwhelmingly successful Entertainment Industry Financial Incentive Program and allow the state to continue to see its investment grow as the entertainment industry develops and flourishes in our state.

Film Florida fully supports this proposal and urges Detert’s fellow lawmakers to support it as well. SB 1734, if adopted, will ensure the entertainment industry will continue to make Florida a destination for TV, film and digital media production. For instance, Burn Notice, Dolphin Tale and Madden Football 2013 all were produced in the state.

The bill will result not only in the employment of tens of thousands of Floridians in highly skilled, high-wage jobs, but will have a positive impact on businesses across the state — from dry cleaners and gas stations to restaurants and hotels. The economic benefit of the entertainment industry to the state of Florida cannot be overstated.

If the proposal does not pass, Florida might see an exodus of the members of entertainment industry, losing valuable capital that it infuses into the state’s economy to neighboring states, such as Georgia — with whom we already compete with for jobs and business each day — because they offer more attractive incentives and opportunities for growth.

Lawmakers should recognize the positive economic impacts that the entertainment industry has on Florida, as they consider legislation this session, including the $4.1 billion positive economic impact on Florida’s GDP over the lifetime of the program, and the fact that 19.5 percent of all visitors to the state indicated that seeing a movie or television series filmed in Florida contributed to their decision to travel here.

Simply put, an investment in Florida’s entertainment industry is an investment in strengthening and growing Florida’s economy and, by correlation, our state’s very future.

Leah Sokolowsky, president,

Film Florida,

Pompano Beach

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