Missouri lawmakers approve subsidies for music,

JEFFERSON CITY — Film and music production companies could receive millions of dollars in state tax credits under a newly proposed law heading to Gov. Mike Parson’s desk.

On a 113-45 vote, the Missouri House approved a plan to offer $8 million in tax credits to help facilities like the Gateway Studios project on the western edge of St. Louis County as a way to lure more entertainment jobs to the state.

The “Entertainment Industry Jobs Act” would allow a tax credit for rehearsal expenses and tour expenses equal to 30% of the cost. It would include expenses like concert tour equipment, stages, sets, sound equipment, lighting and scenery.

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“There’s going to be a lot of money coming to the state,” said Rep. Kurtis Gregory, R-Marshall, who sponsored the measure in the House.

Parson, who attended a 2021 groundbreaking for the Gateway project in Chesterfield, is likely to sign the measure into law.

The legislative package, which could cost a total of $24 million annually, also includes a tax incentive program for filmmakers to replace a similar program that expired in 2013 under former Gov. Jay Nixon.

“This would be a fantastic economic driver for the state,” said Rep. David Tyson Smith, D-Columbia.

Under the expired program, Missouri issued transferable tax credits to cover up to 35% of production costs if a studio spent more than $100,000 in the state for films longer than a half-hour.

But since the credit ended, shows with settings in Missouri, such as “Ozark,” “Sharp Objects” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” have been filmed in other states.

Supporters said it is “unfortunate” that the film industry has largely abandoned Missouri because of the lack of tax credits, forcing Missouri film school graduates to move away.

“This is going to bring in a lot of revenue,” said Rep. Michael Burton, D-Lakeshire.

The music provisions in the legislation could help Gateway Studios, which broke ground on a 32-acre rehearsal, studio and hotel complex on Spirit Commerce Drive in 2021.

Officials said the $130 million project could boost the St. Louis region’s visibility among concert promoters and attract top production talent to the region.

Gateway Studios CEO Trey Kerr, who spent nearly 20 years working for major touring band Phish and remains the band’s video director, said the facility is modeled after Rock Lititz in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

Kerr earlier said his company is looking for a level playing field to compete against the Pennsylvania venue.

The proposal has the backing of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and other business groups. Branson tourism officials also expressed support for the plan.

If approved, the program would go into effect in 2023 and expire in 2030 unless extended by the Legislature.

The entertainment tax legislation is Senate Bill 94.

Missouri’s Legislature reflects the federal structure in many ways. Video by Beth O’Malley

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