Bills to re-instate movie industry incentives pass both House and Senate
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Could Mississippi soon see more Hollywood movies made here?
Lawmakers seem to be on board with re-instating movie incentives that expired, causing the state to lose out on films based in Mississippi but shot out of state.
“We could be Atlanta,” said Rep. Omeria Scott (D).
The Ways and Means Committee member is talking about the southern movie and television production mecca that rivals L.A. and New York.
Legislation to re-instate the Motion Picture Incentive Act passed both the House and Senate Wednesday.
The measure gives film production companies up to 25 percent rebates and sales tax and use tax reductions.
The 2016 movie Free State of Jones set in Jones County starring Matthew McConaughey was shot mainly in Louisiana.
Scott represents Jones County.
When you have like a movie Free State of Jones made about an area in the State of Mississippi but they go to Louisiana to make the movie because we don’t have the incentive package that they need, that is criminal," said Scott.
Movies like Get On Up, the James Brown Story, the western The Making of Helena and others were filmed in Mississippi before the tax incentive expired in 2017.
Opponents said the credits do not give the state a favorable return on the investment, with 49 cents on each dollar cited in a PEER Committee report.
Senator Joey Fillingane (R) was the principal author in the senate legislation for the Mississippi Motion Picture Incentive Act.
"We want to make sure that the taxpayer dollars are guarded and that we do get a good return on the investment but we also want to make sure that we consider not only the raw dollars that are turning over in the economy but also the good faith and the good will that we can generate through the making of major motion pictures here in the State of Mississippi," said Fillingane.
Under both versions of the bill each movie is capped at $10 million dollars.
According to supporters, money spent by production crews add up in local salaries, lodging, food and more.
House Bill 1128 and Senate Bill 2603 will be discussed in conference.
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