Leah Sokolowsky: Invest in Florida’s future by investing in its entertainment industry
Published: Monday, April 14, 2014 at 2:37 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 14, 2014 at 2:37 p.m.
A good investment is measured by its return; and, a 5.6:1 return on investment is undeniably a winning proposition for Florida’s workforce, businesses and families. This return on investment is exactly what Florida’s entertainment industry is offering – for every $1 the state invests in the entertainment industry, $5.60 is returned and infused back into our state’s economy. And $5.60 is a modest estimate, as 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, 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.
As this good proposal by Detert makes its way through the process, Film Florida is voicing its full support of it and urging 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, like “Burn Notice;” film, like “Dolphin Tale” and digital media production, like “Madden Football 2013, which in combination will result in not only 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 local dry cleaners and gas stations, to restaurants and hotels. The economic benefit of the entertainment industry to the state of Florida cannot be understated.
Unfortunately, without the passage of this proposal, Florida may see a mass exodus of the entertainment industry, losing valuable capital that the entertainment industry infuses into our state’s economy to neighboring states, like Georgia – who we already compete with for jobs and business each day – because they offer more attractive incentives and opportunities for growth.
We ask that lawmakers carefully consider the positive economic impacts that the entertainment industry has on Florida, as they consider legislation this session, including the 5.6:1 return on investment; 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 viewing 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. We ask that you join us in voicing your support for this economic powerhouse of an industry and ask your lawmakers to vote for SB 1734.
Leah Sokolowsky is president of Film Florida.