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Swan seeks to bring back tax credits for film production companies

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lights, camera, tax credits! Republican state Rep. Kathryn Swan is hoping to paint Missouri as a more desirable state for film production companies by resurrecting certain tax incentives.

Missouri previously allowed tax credits for film production projects, but that law sunsetted in 2013. Advocating for her bill before the Economic Development Committee Monday, Swan said she’s asking for “the sun to come up again” on film production opportunities in the state.

Swan contended Missouri has lost out on more than 10 studio projects since the expiration of the previous law — meaning a loss of more than $150 million in economic impact, she said.

“Since Nov. 28, 2013, Missouri’s been closed for business, having taken down the ‘Welcome to Missouri’ sign for film and digital media,” Swan said.

HB 923 would allow for a 20 percent tax credit for certain in-state expenses and 10 percent for out-of-state costs. Additionally, a 5 percent credit could be allocated for qualifying in-state or out-of-state expenses if at least 50 percent of the film production took place in Missouri, according to Swan’s proposed bill.

Independence Councilman Tom Van Camp, who testified in support of the bill, noted his town missed out on hosting HBO’s new series “Sharp Objects,” starring Golden Globe winner Amy Adams. Although the show is set in Missouri, it is filmed elsewhere.

Filming movies and shows in Missouri would have a lasting impact on the state, especially as fans would visit to see featured places “from here to eternity,” Van Camp told the Missouri Times.

“Movies excite the imagination, and you cannot put a price on that,” he said.

Van Camp contended Swan’s bill “stands on its own two feet.”

“The infallible structure by which Swan has done this bill leaves us in a no-lose situation almost,” he said.

Rep. Tom Hannegan, a Republican member of the Economic Development Committee, also voiced support for the proposed bill, calling it “the gift that keeps on giving” as it could generate tourism and PR opportunities with movie buffs.

No opposition testified at the bill’s hearing Monday evening.