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Tax incentives for filmmakers back on Missouri’s legislative discussions

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Posted at 4:00 AM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 07:22:13-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — This week a committee of Missouri state senators took the first step toward restoring tax incentives for filmmakers who work in the state.

The last statewide film incentive ended in 2013. That was also the last time a major studio filmed a movie in the state, with much of the filming for Gone Girl taking place near Cape Girardeau.

This year, the Missouri Motion Media Association is advocating for the Show MO Act, Senate Bill 732. It passed out of the senate economic development committee Tuesday. The bill now goes to other committees before a vote with the entire Senate.

“Not having a statewide film incentive handicaps us,” Steph Shannon, the Missouri Motion Media Association vice president and the Kansas City Film Office’s director, said.

The Show MO Act is different than incentive proposals that have failed in previous years, because it also applies the incentive to producers of the episodic binge-worthy kind of series currently in demand.

Under the bill, filmmakers who spend a minimum amount of money and hire a minimum number of Missourians can become eligible for a tax credit on up to 20% of the expenses associated with their project.

“We have an industry that deserves supporting and growing,” Shannon said. “We don’t want to see our people moving away and leaving anymore. We don’t want our students, who are graduating and studying this type of work, which is an expanding field, to leave our state either.”

Opponents of similar bills in the past said it benefits too narrow a field to make a true impact, and success is hard to track. Plus, they figured most studios don’t need incentives.

Shannon disagrees, and said studios won’t even consider working with an agency unless there is an incentive on the table. 33 other states and Kansas City, Missouri, have film incentives.

“We can establish a bill that makes sense for Missouri, that is pro-Missouri, that’s pro our workers, pro our industry,” Shannon said.

About 200 commercial shoots take place during the average, non-COVID-19 year in Kansas City. Industry publication Moviemaker recently ranked Kansas City in its list of top cities to live as a movie maker.