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Hillsborough film company looking for tax incentives on new production

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Hillsborough County commissioners are poised this week to consider $25,000 in incentives for a local film company to shoot a film in the Tampa Bay area.

Noah Pransky of WTSP reports the subsidies will be the latest attempt by lawmakers to support the county’s struggling film industry.

But in contrast to “The Infiltrator,” a big-name motion picture filmed in 2015 with the help incentives, the latest potential recipient is working with both a smaller cast and budget

If approved, the proposal will cover 10 percent of the budget for “No Postage Necessary,” which would be recommended to secure “local filming of the motion picture.” The film, which is slated to start production next week, will be made by Two Roads Picture Co., a Plant City-based company.

However, Pransky notes the poor history of financial returns on film subsidies, with state economists estimating only 41 cents is brought in for each taxpayer dollar spent.

Jennifer Closshey, the majority owner of Two Roads, has been a frequent campaign contributor to Hillsborough County commissioners.

County records show Closshey, over the past decade, gave $2,500 to Al Higginbotham and $250 each to Ken Hagan and Stacey White.

One conservative group is blasting the film incentives as a poor waste of taxpayer money.

“They are being awful cavalier with money that doesn’t belong to them,” said Americans for Prosperity Florida communications director Andres Malave in an email to WTSP. “Taxpayers won’t see a good ROI, the state had proven that. Citizens should note who supports it and hold them accountable when it counts.”

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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