Seeking Hollywood investment, Missouri legislature passes film production tax credits

·2 min read
20th Century Fox

The Missouri House approved legislation Thursday that would offer film and entertainment tax credits in the state. The bill now heads to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk for final approval.

Rep. Kurtis Gregory, a Marshall Republican, said Thursday that the legislation is well thought out and includes provisions to require companies to invest in the state before tax credits are handed out.

“By passing both of these bills, we’re going to be an economic driver,” Gregory said. “There’s going to be a bunch of new money coming to the state.”

The bill passed the Missouri House with a vote of 113-35. It previously passed the state Senate in February.

Rep. Peter Merideth, a St. Louis Democrat, voiced his support for the bill, saying he was glad to finally see it get across the finish line after years of attempts.

The legislation would offer production companies tax credits equal to 20% of qualified expenses, capped at $8 million per year. Additional credits would be available for meeting criteria like filming 15% of a movie in a rural or blighted area and positively marketing an area of the state.

Tax credits equal to 30% of qualified expenses like rehearsal costs would be available for live entertainment tours.

Proponents of the bill have previously pointed to shows like Netflix’s “Ozark,” which is set at the Lake of the Ozarks but filmed in Georgia, as a missed economic opportunity in Missouri. Another example touted is “Tulsa King,” a Paramount+ series starring Sylvester Stallone which was originally planned to be filmed in Kansas City but instead moved to Oklahoma.

However, some research points to film incentives not creating the intended economic impact and instead lining the pockets of production companies without bringing permanent jobs or economic growth to the state. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank which advocates for economic justice and tax fairness, wrote in 2010 that these incentives aren’t financially sound and the money could be better spent on public services.

Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a national watchdog that tracks incentive programs, previously told The Star that film tax credits are not a good investment and the public tends to get very little back from the money committed to these companies.