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House lets Senate take the lead on film incentives

The House is deferring to the Senate in an overhaul of tax credits to lure TV and film projects to Florida.

Set to consider amendments to its proposal (HB 451) Wednesday, House leadership postponed the bill while it watches how the upper chamber moves forward.

“We’re assessing what’s going on in the Senate with the issue,” Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said. “We have every intention of moving that along.”

Really, it comes down to a timing issue. If the House and Senate advance plans that are substantially different, the bill could get caught up in bouncing back and forth between the chambers and not be resolved before the legislative session ends May 1.

Both chambers’ proposals would give more decision-making power in doling out tax credits to a film and entertainment commissioner based on a scoring process that emphasizes economic impact. Right now, money is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, and the last appropriation was used up years earlier than was intended.

There is one big policy difference between the two plans, by Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, and Rep. Mike Miller, R-Winter Park. Detert is pushing hard for a quick-action closing fund, which would allow for some funds to be allocated to tax credits more quickly when the state needs to act fast to secure a production.

That’s not quite as popular in the House.

“I know that Sen. Detert likes the quick action close,” Miller said. “The House is not — we’re not saying no to that. It’s just how we fit the pieces together."