Florida Legislative Support Grows For Film And TV Tax Incentives

Jan 14, 2015
Originally published on January 14, 2015 10:05 am

After last year’s legislative session, Florida failed to secure the tax incentive money it needed to lure more movie and television projects to the Sunshine State.

But things could change in 2015. And Palm Beach County lawmakers want to play a starring role in replenishing those funds.

During a panel discussion this week in West Palm Beach, members of Palm Beach County’s legislative delegation said that Florida is falling behind other states like Georgia and Louisiana when it comes to film and television production.

That’s because the $296 million Florida set aside for film and TV tax incentives was spent in just one year when it was supposed to last for at least four.

State Senator Joseph Abruzzo of Wellington says the success of TV shows like “Burn Notice” and “The Glades” gives Florida more than just an economic boost.

“It is free advertisement to the rest of the nation that you can’t pay for. It’s in the billions [of] dollars," says Abruzzo. "So our investment is second to none.”

Members of the Palm Beach County delegation say they're confident that during the upcoming legislative session, lawmakers will get behind a renewed effort to set aside tax incentive funds.

Florida is still feeling the effects of a major studio deal that went bust nearly three years ago. Visual effects company Digital Domain was supposed to set up a major animation studio in Port St. Lucie and a school in West Palm Beach.  But the company declared bankruptcy in 2012, taking about $20 million worth of state money with it.

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