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Detert unveils this year's film credit plan

With actors dressed as Henry Flagler on one side and Juan Ponce de Leon on the other, state lawmakers Wednesday unveiled their proposal for film and entertainment tax credits.

The proposal, spearheaded by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Sarasota, and carried in the House by Rep. Mike Miller, R-Winter Park, aim to fix the state’s existing entertainment credits, which ran out of money. A recent report by the Legislature’s policy analysis group showed the industry’s growth in Florida lags behind other states, including Georgia and Louisiana.

Under the new plan, if approved, the state film commissioner would have increased ability to grant money quickly and power to determine the level of quality and economic impact of the projects that receive state money.

The goal of the bills (S.B. 1046, H.B. 451), okayed by a Senate committee Tuesday, is to boost the industry’s role in Florida.

But don’t call it an incentive program.

“It’s really the wrong word,” Detert said. “It sounds like we pay you to come to Florida and make a movie … The real word is rebate. You come here, you make a movie, you stay in hotels, you hire people, you buy food, then you turn in receipts and we give you a rebate on the taxes you paid.”

She and Miller said they hope the new structure for the state’s film program will lead to more money spent in Florida with less investment from the state.

Detert said she wasn’t willing to put an estimated dollar value on the program just yet.