tax breaks

Florida’s Stupid Stab at Nixing Tax Credits for Films and TV Shows Featuring Gays

Balls! Florida’s Republican lawmakers are sneakily trying to strip out tax cuts for movie and television producers that dare include gay characters. Tucked inside a $75 million incentive bill, any production that includes “nontraditional family values” won’t be able to score the family-friendly tax cut. And yes, “nontraditional family values” include portrayals of alcoholics, drug users, and your average gay uncle.

Currently, films shot in Florida can score a tax credit worth up to two percent of its production cost, so long as it’s family friendly. The new bill would increase the credit to five percent, but also block new categories of eligible projects. Anything to do with smoking and sex, or obscenity, are blocked (sorry, porn studios!), and now so too will representations of homogayqueerfags.

We get why lawmakers have a tax incentive bill at all: To encourage filmmakers to develop projects in Florida, which in turn contribute to the state economy. But then they qualify the tax credit with a morals clause, because should taxpayers really be the ones footing the bill if Quentin Tarantino comes to town and wants five percent off his blood thirsty flick?

But Florida, whose sexual identity crisis rivals that of Gov. Charlie Crist, will be overstepping with this no-gays thing, because for the fifty-thousandth time, sexual orientation and gender identity don’t necessarily mean the film is about sex, the same way a film about a mom and dad and their kids isn’t about plugging human orifices.

Curiously, it looks like the biggest challenger to the bill could be Disney Corp., at least in theory. Not that Disney’s ABC Studios is shooting much content in Florida, but this media behemoth’s main concern is profits, and it shouldn’t stand for any state trying to limit how many tax breaks it might be eligible for.

And we’d expect producers of CSI: Miami to try fighting the bill, but with all that sex, drugs, and violence, they’re probably already missing out on it anyhow. That, and just like every other show set in Florida, CSI: Miami barely films any of its scenes there.

This is a stupid effort to insert religious beliefs into secular government policies, and is in fact bad for Florida families. If the tax incentives are there to encourage investment in Florida, limiting them with a values clause will keep desperately needed money out of the state.

(NB: The Monster movie poster appears here because 1) Charlize and Christina got it on; 2) it was filmed entirely in Central Florida; 3) it’s a freakin’ Oscar-winning film, with Charlize taking home Best Actress.)