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Industry Leaders Seek Immediate Action
(released 3/31/2005)            Green Room Orlando News Feed Subscribe  
By Douglas Lorah

Background

The state of Florida currently has a film and entertainment incentive with a corresponding fund attached. Qualifying films can gain 15% of what the production spends. Minimum incentive is $850,000 with a maximum incentive of $2 million. The state's fiscal year is July 1 through June 30 the following calendar year. The state legislature, along with the governor, has allotted $2.45 million for the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2005.

The films that gained from this incentive were last year's The Transporter 2, which filmed in South Florida, and this year’s Probed, which is being produced by Orlando's Haxan Films and is scheduled to begin principle photography in May.

Where We Stand Now

Our state legislature is currently in session until the first week of May working on creating and amending laws and calculating and finalizing the budget for the entire state.

The governor finished his proposed budget and allotted a 100% increase in funding towards the incentive. He plans on spending $5.1 million on our industry. Please note that this amount also includes the funding of the Governor's Office of Film & Entertainment.

The Florida House has not finalized their budget, but they have allotted $10 million towards the incentive fund.

The Senate is also working on their proposed budget. They originally allotted $5 million for film funding. On Wednesday, March 30, Senator Mike Fasano filed an amendment to divert $2.8 million from the Entertainment Incentive Fund to various Department of State grants. Immediately, a message went out through various email groups to write our senators asking them to not pass the amendment. This did not work and the amendment to the Senate budget passed.

The Senate is now set to allot only $2.2 million for our industry. This is a cut from last year.

The Latest

An alert went out through various email groups again. This time, Representative Donna Clarke was trying to transfer $3 million in the House budget from the Entertainment Incentive to the Department of Military Affairs leaving $7 million for film funding. This alert was sent from the Office of Film & Entertainment shortly after 2pm on Thursday, March 31.

Early this evening, Rep. Donna Clarke rescinded her proposed amendment!

Is It Over Now?

Governor Jeb Bush, the Florida House of Representatives, and the Florida Senate must agree on a budget by Friday, May 6.

Industry leaders are asking for your help. They are urging that anyone that wants to get involved to email and call your representatives and senators. Right now, the Senate needs to be contacted and influenced to change their budget.

The State Film Commissioner Susan Albershardt's office has compiled a list of Senators that comprise the Senate Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Committee. They set the budget for the Incentive Fund among other things. Included with the contact information is each senator's district, if you wish to let them know that you live and vote in their district:

Senator Mike Fasano (Chair) (Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas)
310 SOB
404 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Fasano.mike.web@flsenate.gov
850-487-5062

Senator Paula Dockery (Hernando, Lake, Osceola, Polk, Sumter)
326 SOB
404 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Dockery.paula.web@flsenate.gov
850-487-5040

Senator Jim Sebesta (Hillsborough, Pinellas)
322 SOB
404 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Sebesta.jim.web@flsenate.gov
850-487-5075

Senator Daniel Webster (Orange, Osceola, Seminole)
408 SOB
404 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Webster.daniel.web@flsenate.gov
850-487-5047

Senator Gwen Margolis (Vice Chair) (Broward, Miami-Dade)
214 SOB
404 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Margolis.gwen.web@flsenate.gov
850-487-5121

Senator Anthony "Tony" Hill, Sr. (Duval, Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns, Volusia)
213 SOB
404 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Hill.tony.web@flsenate.gov
850-487-5024






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