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Tax incentive bill for Hollywood goes to Finance Tax Committee

16,000 Florida residents depend on production jobs

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida's latest entertainment tax incentive proposal went before the State Finance tax committee late Tuesday.

[WEB EXTRA: Read CS/HB 451 - Entertainment Industry ]

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Mike Miller, of Winter Park, said it's a solid "jobs bill" that impacts an estimated 16,000 Florida residents and dozens of local businesses.

"This is not a Hollywood bill," Miller said. "This is a small businessman, small businesswoman bill."

Critics have branded House Bill and Senate Bill 1046 Hollywood handouts.

Carla Aucoin, a production manager who lives in College Park with her daughter and husband, is currently working on a $25 million film that actually takes place in Florida but is being shot in London, England.

"They're even building palm trees, creating the palm trees to look like Florida," Aucoin said.

Staying home is becoming a challenge for residents like Aucoin, who make a living in the industry, because the tax incentives have dried up.

Aucoin said there is a misconception that it's all glitz and glamour.

"We're not Hollywood," she said. "We're normal people trying to have a job and raise our families in our local communities."

Sources familiar with the revamped legislation said it is likely the new bill would provide $51 million in tax incentives in the first year, far less than the $296 million set aside in 2010.

The old incentives package ran out of money in 2014, sending potential Hollywood and television productions to states like Georgia and Louisiana.

Steven Heller, CEO of Orlando-based Attitude Specialty Lighting, said tax incentives deliver major productions and millions of dollars into the local economy.

"There is no film industry without a tax incentive" Heller said. "My choices are relocate the business or do something else."

The bill must pass the full Senate and full House by then end of the 60-day legislative session. The session ends May 1.