Crist Plans Tax Dollar Giveaway to Hollywood, Confused On Why it Won’t Work

Gubernatorial Candidate Charlie Crist announced his plan last week to subsidize the entertainment industry in Florida, claiming it will boost the economy and promote the state. However, previous attempts to enact this idea have been underwhelming.

“We’re going to bring the film industry and entertainment industry back to the state like never before, my Entertainment Florida plan will do just that.”

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Subsidization is nothing new, and subsidizing the film industry in Florida isn’t new either. “When I was governor, the Film incentives boosted our economy,” Crist claimed.

In his ‘Entertainment Florida’s plan, Crist argues that the incentives are a net positive, citing numbers from the non-profit entertainment production trade association Film Florida. Crist argues that for every dollar spent on entertainment industry incentives, 5 dollars of economic activity is generated.

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However, neutral reports measuring the effectiveness of these incentives historically tell a different story.

The incentives started in 2010 with  Crist and ended in 2016 with Rick Scott, handing out nearly 300 million in tax credits to the entertainment industry.

Two separate reports conducted under two different governors concluded the incentives were a net negative. A 2015 study from the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research reported were only getting 43 cents back on every dollar of the tax credit. A 2021 report by the same office conceded the plan certainly had economic benefits but not enough to offset the costs. Both reports concluded entertainment incentives were a net negative.

Crist did not address the conflicting data or sources in his statement. Instead, he expressed confusion about why DeSantis hasn’t adopted the policy and his love for Hollywood.

“It’s all upside, no downside. Why Governor DeSantis hasn’t embraced it is beyond my comprehension except that probably ideologically, he’s not a big fan of Hollywood….We should embrace these wonderful people.”

 


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