Missouri lawmakers discuss tax incentives for filmmakers


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

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

This year, the Missouri Motion Media Association is advocating for the View MO Law, Senate Bill 732. It was passed Tuesday by the Senate Economic Development Committee. The bill now goes to other committees before a vote with the full Senate.

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

The Show MO Act is different from the incentive proposals that failed in previous years because it also applies the incentive to producers of the type of binge-worthy episodic 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 expenses associated with their project.

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

Opponents of similar bills in the past have said it takes advantage of too narrow a scope to have any real impact, and success is hard to track. Plus, they figured most studios didn’t need incentives.

Shannon disagrees and said studios wouldn’t even consider working with an agency unless there was an incentive on the table. 33 other states and Kansas City, Missourihave movie incentives.

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

About 200 commercial shoots take place in the average non-COVID-19 year in Kansas City. Industry publication The filmmaker recently ranked Kansas City in his list of the best cities to live as a filmmaker.


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