TV shows with gay characters could lose Florida tax credits
Television shows and films with gay characters could miss on tax credits in Florida for not being “family-friendly”.
Shows and films which are shot in Florida can get tax credits as a means of encouraging job creation in the state.
But a new bill being considered by lawmakers could remove the benefits for productions which include “non-traditional family values”.
The bill does not explicitly cite gay characters as an example of non-traditional family values and many legislators have refused to be drawn into a “word game”.
However, Republican representative and bill sponsor Stephen Precourt told the Palm Beach Post that shows with gay characters were not “the kind of thing I’d say that we want to invest public dollars in”.
Mr Precourt’s district includes Disney World.
Florida Family Policy Council president John Stemberger added that the phrase “non-traditional family values” could include anything from “drug abuse to excessive drunkenness to homosexual families.”
The main purpose of the bill is to raise current tax credits from two to five per cent of production costs for shows considered “family friendly”.
Currently, shows with smoking, sex, nudity and profane language are exempt from the tax credits scheme. The bill would widen this to include any “exhibit or implied act” of non-traditional family values and gratuitous violence.
Equality Florida spokesman Brian Winfield said: “If they’re not able to define what they intend by non-traditional family value, then it probably has no place in law.”