Film incentives get added boost to lure productions
County lawmakers just made Miami-Dade even more attractive for TV and film productions, voting Tuesday to reduce minimum requirements for tax rebates for filming here.
The change comes less than two years after the county set up the Miami-Dade TV, Film and Entertainment Production Incentives Program, funneling $100,000 tax refunds to qualifying productions.
The program, created to compensate for state discontinuation of film tax credits in 2016, has pumped about $24.7 million into the county through seven productions spending at least $1 million.
In passing Sally Heyman’s measure this week, the county created a second incentive tier targeting smaller projects. The two-tier structure will give productions spending at least $1 million in Miami-Dade a maximum tax refund of $100,000 and those spending more than $500,000 but less than $1 million a maximum $50,000.
Further, where before production companies could apply for just one grant yearly, they now may seek two.
To get grants, at least 70% of a production must be produced or filmed in Miami-Dade.
Productions eligible for $50,000 grants must hire at least 20 county residents, paid to meet the county’s living wage ordinance, as principal cast or crew while shooting here.
Productions eligible for $100,000 grants must hire 40 residents, 10 fewer than previously required.
The new requirements also stipulate that productions must “showcase Miami-Dade County to the extent that the production has a sense of place [here]… as determined by the county [administration],” hire students and recent graduates from local colleges, and provide returns on investment of at least $10 for every dollar the county provides through the program.
Additionally, productions in both tiers must hire at least 70% Miami-Dade registered businesses as vendors and contractors, down from 80% previously.
Between 2010 and 2016, Florida designated $242 million in tax credits to film studios and production companies working in the state. Over that time, the state incentive program saw productions spend hundreds of millions in Miami-Dade, including TV shows like “Magic City,” “Burn Notice” and “Ballers.”
A 2012 Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau study determined productions here reached more than 1.5 billion viewers for an estimated $405 billion advertising value. The same year, a Visit Florida tourism board report showed 23% of tourists interviewed cited locally filmed shows or movies as guiding factors in their decision to travel to the state.
But for four consecutive years, the state refused to further fund the program, allowing it to end in 2016. By then, many industry professionals had relocated to states with more incentives.
In June 2017, Ms. Heyman proposed that Miami-Dade set up its own incentives and, a month later, her move earned commission support with an added condition that the program be evaluated within two years.
On Tuesday, the program’s second iteration commenced, with similar across-the-dais support.