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Front Page » Filming » Miami-Dade looking at providing own filming incentives

Miami-Dade looking at providing own filming incentives

Written by on April 5, 2016
Miami-Dade looking at providing own filming incentives

After four consecutive years during which the Florida Legislature failed to add funding to the state’s film and entertainment incentive program and with the tax rebate plan ending in July, Miami-Dade is looking at providing its own county filming incentives on a case-by-case basis.

Film productions over the years have pumped millions into the economy and created thousands of high-paying jobs.

“My administration is currently working with industry stakeholders on establishing guidelines to process and recommend film and entertainment incentives on a case-by-case basis for board consideration,” said a March 31 memo from Mayor Carlos Gimenez to Jean Monestime, chair of the county commission. The issue had been brought to the county’s Trade and Tourism Committee by Commissioner Dennis Moss on March 17.

“The county is – on a case-by-case basis – considering offering some sort of inducement to qualified productions, just as we would any other job creator,” said Sandy Lighterman, the county’s film commissioner, on Tuesday. “The county could consider things that would make it attractive for productions to film here, while requiring the employment of Miami-Dade residents and the hiring of county vendors, but it would not be a formal program.”

The production would have to prove it was viable, could comply with the hiring requirements and would deliver sufficient return on the county’s investment, she added.

While it’s unlikely that any local incentive program could compete with well-funded and robust plans such as exist in Georgia, North Carolina and Louisiana, any help by the county would be a boost to keeping shows here, Ms. Lighterman said.

“We don’t want our local productions to leave, including those that are home-grown stories,” she said. “We are also worried that our infrastructure will deteriorate.”

While she said she couldn’t predict how the attempt will fare, “there seems to be interest on the mayor’s part, and on the part of some commissioners.”

The idea isn’t new: last August, Mr. Moss asked that a feasibility study be presented to the county commission. The study, obtained by Miami Today, lays out incentive programs in competing states and cities. It is also part of Mr. Gimenez’s March 31 memo.

Bradenton (2011 population: about 54,000) in Manatee County gives incentives that include cash or in-kind services to movie productions that spend more than $250,000. Productions can also film free at Port Manatee and at beaches and parks. At least 90% of the project must be filmed in Manatee County.

Feature films, television shows, Web series or other productions that qualify for San Francisco’s “Scene in San Francisco” program are eligible for a refund of all payroll taxes and city fees up to $600,000 per production. Crew members can get discounts in participating local stores.

“Without question, the lack of state or local-level incentives is causing Miami-Dade County to lose television series, feature films, documentaries, digital media and commercial projects to other areas both outside and inside of Florida,” the report noted last year. “Local incentives are not designed to replace state incentives.” But, it concluded, they can give one area the competitive edge over another.

7 Responses to Miami-Dade looking at providing own filming incentives

  1. DC Copeland

    April 6, 2016 at 10:54 am

    This is a worthy effort. Hopefully the county will come up with something that really makes the entertainment industry revisit SoFla as a serious– and economical– place to do business.

  2. Tim Goldsbury

    April 6, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Miami dumped “Burn Notice”.
    Really a dumb move to make a tiny park, and lose so many jobs.

    Or, did they even do the park at the location? A tiny little park at the cost of a very
    successful business.

    It is time to consider filming incentives from the Sate of Florida.

    • Lia

      April 6, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      Tim, the state of Florida has voted against film incentives for the last 4 years. Rick Scott, his administration and many in the house & senate have zero interest in supporting the film industry in the state of Florida. Even though it’s free advertising and research has showed for every $1 the state helps with is returned $6-7 into the economy. Even though talented crew members, young and old are fleeing to other states to work, our state doesn’t care.

  3. Edward Baker

    April 7, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    I live in NYC. I was born and raised in Miami. I know this program would do wonders for Miami. NYC is a perfect case example. You would think, “there’s no need for an incentive in NYC, everyone wants to film in NYC.” That is not the case. Prior to NYS’s film credit we were losing production to every other city offering incentives, from Toronto to Boston. We realized that we had to draw this business back and create our own tax credit. In the city known for big budget films, we now have incredible number of TV shows based here and all the production people that live in NYC are happy that they don’t need to travel the country for their job. There have also been countless economic reports citing exactly what Lia said….the $1 investment is paying substantial dividends in return. I miss Miami very much, but I choose NYC’s political corruption over Miami’s political dumbness. Get it together Miami, and Florida for that matter.

  4. Cindy Lerner

    April 9, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    I have bee saying Miami Dade should do this for years! We certainly have the resources available and it directly impacts our local economy in a huge way. #nobrainer

  5. Anna

    April 11, 2016 at 9:07 am

    What We are waiting for? Many talented creative people starve in Miami and need to
    move in different cities… Rick Scott administration wake up !!!!
    No more drugs and prostitution that what Miami is becoming!

    • Peter Muller

      April 22, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      Please take a good hard look at what this is doing to us . Losing jobs to other states,because they know what there doing. We bring money to local businesses, Hotels and more. Let’s get this turned around now,before we lose something that was once considered to be prestigious and brought attention to our area , which was good for tourism and more. Peter Muller