Over the past five years, Film Tampa Bay has paid out incentives to the film and advertising industries. How much did this cost taxpayers? And how much was returned to taxpayers in taxes for more than $2 million spent by Taxpayers on this program?
According to Film Tampa Bay's own press release $2.2 million in spending was generated due to the incentives program. The same press release claims $52 million in "spending" arising from 900 productions "facilitated" by Film Tampa Bay? Even taking the $52 million number, which could be wildly inflated, the county's general revenue budget would have lost at least $1.5 million Taxpayer dollars on this dubious "investment."
If this was any kind of investment, then the expense to Taxpayers for film commission salaries, travel expenses and incentives from derived from the general revenue fund should have been returned to the general revenue fund. Right?
If this was a good investment it ought to return several times the initial investment to the general revenue fund.
Instead, Taxpayers got back less than we "invested", and that's a loss! Taxpayers lost at least $1.5 million from general revenue that could have been spent on other priorities important to Taxpayers.
My opponent in the Republican primary considers this a good investment! That might explain why he's a career politician! Film Tampa Bay was never about creating permanent jobs in Hillsborough County. Everyone acknowledges that without incentives, the film industry cannot survive here. Instead, Film Tampa Bay's incentives were intended to lure filming of "Hollywood" blockbusters to Tampa, which would draw more tourists here. That was the only way Film Tampa Bay could provide any return on Taxpayer dollars.
Did the incentives work? Only a single "Hollywood" production filmed in Hillsborough County, and only for 3 days. It flopped at theaters and failed to attract much box office or tourist attention. In fact, Film Tampa Bay's director has shifted its focus from film to TV commercials. These TV commercials are unlikely to drive tourists to visit Hillsborough County.*
After 5 years, incentives failed to achieve what the program was intended to do. Taxpayers probably lost more than $1.5 million from general revenue on this failed investment.
So, why is Film Tampa Bay still in the 2019 budget! The 16-year career county commissioner, ranked the #9 most powerful politician in Tampa Bay by Florida Politics, likes the film industry. That's waste! That's not working for us. That's just transferring our money to the film industry.
Did I mention that the one "Hollywood" film, The Infiltrator, was about money laundering in Hillsborough County? How ironic is that!
The lack of payback to Taxpayers doesn't stop my opponent in the Republican primary from declaring Film Tampa Bay a big success on the campaign trail! You see, it was his idea.
It is time to end failed incentive programs like Film Tampa Bay! I need your help to defeat this powerful career politician, and I'll do it if I can raise $15,000 in the next 15 days. Your contribution of $10, $20 or $100 will make a huge difference! Just click the donate button below: