Bill seeks to lengthen life of film tax credit program
Associated Industries of Missouri president Ray McCarty says the state tax credit program for film makers is worth the money the state invests.
McCarty told members of the Senate Jobs Committee Wednesday that legislation seeking to extend the sunset on the tax credit program to 2018 would give the state’s developing film industry a sense of security going forward.
Senate Bill 387, sponsored by State Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D-St. Louis), would reduce the amount of the tax credit cap from its current $4.5 million down to $3.5 million. But it would extend the sunset on the program from November 28 of this year, to December 31, 2018.
“Filmmakers are just beginning to discover Missouri as a wonderful state in which to locate their movie shoots,” said McCarty. “The state’s urban areas were featured in the film “Up in the Air”, and the rolling hills of the Ozarks were the setting for the critically acclaimed film ‘Winter’s Bone’. This bill ensures that the state’s incentive program for filmmakers remains in place from year to year.”
The current tax credit program offers a 35 percent credit to film companies up to $4.5 million for in-state filming. But McCarty points out beyond the direct benefit of the tax credit to the film companies, the state benefits from money the film companies spend in the state on such things as salaries for local carpenters, cosmetologists, caterers and extras. The film crews stay in local hotels, eat in local restaurants, drive rental vehicles, and rent or buy extra equipment or materials when needed.
Indeed, one film industry analyst estimates that the cast and crew of “Up in the Air” in 2009 brought nearly $30 million to the local St. Louis economy.
“A goal for Missouri would be to continue to bring film projects to Missouri at such a rate that we would be able to support a community of film workers that could be based right here,” said McCarty. “States such as Louisiana, New Mexico and Massachusetts now support thriving film making industries.”
The bill remains in the Senate committee. It faces a committee vote before moving to the Senate floor for debate.