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Florida TaxWatch Examines The Economic Impact Of Florida's Film And Television Industry

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In Florida TaxWatch’s latest research report, the independent government watchdog dives into Florida’s film and television industry to examine how other states are luring in film production companies and identify strategies Florida can employ to remain competitive in the industry. 

The use of economic incentives has created an arms race between states and countries competing for filmand television productions and the resulting job creation and economic development.

While TaxWatch maintains that incentives should not be used as a substitute for the fundamentals of good economic growth, TaxWatch does recommend that incentives for the film and television industry be considered as a part of Florida’s overall economic development strategy. 

“Economic development has been a longtime focus of the Sunshine State,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “Florida’s business-friendly tax climate, good weather, and beaches have their advantages; however, state policymakers should strongly consider a sound, fiscally-responsible incentive program to help grow targeted industries such as film and television production.”

Direct film and television industry jobs generated $53 billion in wages nationwide in 2016, with average salaries 42 percent higher than the national average. There were nearly 342,000 jobs in the core business of producing, marketing, manufacturing, and distributing motion pictures and television shows. 

In 2017, there were more than 4,400 established businesses in Florida’s film and entertainment industry (excluding digital media), employing more than 26,000 Floridians. With the advent of digital technology and the ability to view content through any number of platforms, job creation and revenue could increase for state and local governments. 

“There has never been more content available to viewers than there is today and we believe that content should be created in Florida, creating high-wage jobs for Floridians, pumping new money into our economy, and showing off our state on the large, small and mobile screen,” noted John Lux, Executive Director of Film Florida Entertainment Production Association. “Florida TaxWatch has an impeccable record of integrity, professionalism, and quality in their research and we appreciate their efforts to highlight the current state of the industry in Florida.”

“Florida once had the most fiscally conservative program in America that had a solid return-on-investment to the state," commented Paul Sirmons, a Florida-based independent producer and former State Film Commissioner under Gov. Jeb Bush. “We can do that now with a targeted program that will send a signal to the industry in Florida, the United States, and the world that Florida is open for business and ready to lure in the very high-wage jobs in the film, television and digital media industry. It wouldn't take much to put Floridians back to work here, generate new revenues and boost tourism -- which movies and TV shows have been shown to do quite effectively.”

Read the FULL analysis here.


About Florida TaxWatch

As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit government watchdog & taxpayer research institute for nearly forty years, the trusted eyes and ears of Florida taxpayers, Florida TaxWatch, works to improve the productivity and accountability of Florida government. Its research recommends productivity enhancements and explains the statewide impact of fiscal and economic policies and practices on citizens and businesses.

Florida TaxWatch is supported by voluntary, tax-deductible donations and private grants, and does not accept government funding. Donations provide a solid, lasting foundation that has enabled Florida TaxWatch to bring about a more effective, responsive government that is more accountable to, and productive for, the citizens it serves since 1979. For more information, please visit

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