Mississippi's music industry could get boost from tax breaks - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi's music industry could get boost from tax breaks

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Mississippi movie magic has become a more common sight in recent years. Now, there's a move to extend the state's resources to the music industry. House Bill 907 would give the music industry tax incentives to put roots down in Mississippi. 

Dexter Allen grew up in Crystal Springs. Blues is his business. He says music is part of the pulse in Mississippi.

"It's born and raised here," Allen explained. "Kind of like a stalk of corn or sugarcane or something. The soil is rich and fertile. We grow 'em; a lot of great stories, a lot of great storytellers."

Allen has traveled the world because of blues. He's the first and only artist signed to Bobby Rush's label. But he sees a gap.

"Everywhere I go, people say man you've got that sound," said Allen. "It's that certain thing. It's that certain Mississippi sound. So now let's start bringing these people in to see how we create it."

Founder and chairman of the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, Dr. Jim Brewer. says the history is there. Now the challenge is making the state a destination for music history in the making.

"It's just enormous," Brewer noted. "A billion dollars in recording alone or more. What if 10 percent or 20 percent of that came to Mississippi?"

The House bill would give up to a 25% tax rebate to local artists or studios making a minimum $5,000 investment. National artists would have to put in at least $15,000 to get the rebate. Still it would be major money coming into the state. Dr. Brewer says it could be a game changer.

"You'll recognize that all of these artists had to go out of state to get their recordings done," said Brewer. "So we've got famous Mississippi musicians, concerts all over the world. They don't record in Mississippi. Very seldom."

"A lot of great talent that came out of here years ago and there's a lot that's still here that I consider untapped," explained Allen.

House Bill 907 passed the House tourism committee Wednesday. As with other bills, it still has a long way to go before it gets final approval.

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