A House committee will discuss legislation Wednesday that would restore tax credits for qualified film projects. The General Assembly let the film tax program expire in November of 2013. If passed, studios, filmmakers, and digital productions would apply for the credits through the Department of Economic Development.
State Representative Kathryn Swan of Cape Girardeau will present her bill before the committee. The movie ‘Gone Girl’ was shot in her hometown and was the last big-budget film project to take advantage of the film credit, in September of 2013. Swan said the crew spent millions and the project gave her hometown a $7 million boost to its economy.
“Of the 7 million, more than 600 thousand was spent launching an office space, 250 thousand on transportation and fuel, 180 thousand on security, 150 thousand in catering, more than 160 thousand spent on building supplies, and over 170 thousand spent on furniture and props purchased from local venues,” said Swan. “We keep talking about beneficial to the state particularly when we’re talking tax credits… Well, Cape Girardeau is part of the state, and it was very beneficial for Cape Girardeau.”
Joni Tackette is the Missouri Motion Media Association president and has been a casting director for more than 20 years. She is currently working in St. Louis. Tackette said the ‘Gone Girl’ crew spent 7 weeks filming the movie in Missouri.
“They stayed for a lot longer period of time because the incentive was in place at the time,” said Tackette. “Missouri cannot compete with 38 other states that currently have incentive programs in place.”
Tackette said the film industry is a large part of the U.S. economy and we are no longer getting that production in Missouri.
Swan said the expired tax credit takes Missouri completely out of the market. Swan acknowledged not every film project will be a ‘Gone Girl,’ but said there are long term benefits to a film tax incentive because film production in St. Louis and Kansas City will continue to develop, operate, have employees, and pay taxes.
“Missouri has other film productions such as shorter documentaries and other types of production that we need to be in the market for, and if we remain in the market, then that becomes sustainable,” said Swan.
“Missouri production companies can use it to develop new projects, and not take those projects out of state, to states who have incentive programs,” said Tackette. “They can utilize the incentive to keep their projects here in Missouri.”
Senator David Pearce has filed a similar bill in the Senate that reauthorizes the film production tax credit. That bill has been referred to a Senate committee, but no hearing has been scheduled.