Music production

Music production center in Chesterfield lobbies lawmakers for tax breaks | Politics

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri lawmakers opened debate Tuesday on a proposal that could benefit a company building a $130 million music production facility in Chesterfield.

Under a package of legislation sponsored by Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, facilities such as the Gateway Studios project in the western end of St. Louis County could qualify for a tax credit of up to $8 million to attract more jobs in the entertainment industry. in the state.

The so-called “Entertainment Industry Employment Act” would allow a tax credit for rehearsal expenses and touring expenses equal to 30% of the cost. It would include the cost of concert touring equipment, stages, sets, sound equipment, lighting and sets.

Hoskins is also sponsoring a tax incentive program for filmmakers to replace an incentive program that expired eight years ago.

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“The idea of ​​music and movies being produced in the state of Missouri absolutely appeals to me,” Sen. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, said at a meeting of the Senate Economic Development Committee.

In November, Gateway Studios submitted a plan to build a 32-acre rehearsal, studio and hotel complex on Spirit Commerce Drive. Officials said the project could boost the St. Louis area’s visibility among concert organizers and attract top production talent to the area.

The project immediately attracted political attention. Inauguration attendees included Gov. Mike Parson, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, and House Speaker-elect Dean Plocher, R-Des Peres.

The project is already in line for state and local grants. The Missouri Department of Economic Development has committed $2.9 million, while St. Louis County has approved up to $130 million in property and sales tax bonds and reductions.

Gateway Studios CEO Trey Kerr, who spent nearly 20 years working for major touring band Phish and remains their video director, said the facility is modeled after Rock Lititz in Lititz, Pennsylvania.

Kerr told senators that the proposal could create jobs in the state.

“Like many other Missourians, I had to leave the state to pursue my career,” Kerr said. “It’s about jobs.”

David Haskell, president of business development at Gateway, said he received a long list of requests from top touring artists regarding the installation.

“A lot of people support what we’re doing,” Haskell said.

If approved, the program would come into effect in 2023 and expire in 2029, unless extended by the Legislative Assembly.

The debate over tax credits for the music industry comes as the Missouri legislature has failed in recent years to renew tax credits for filmmakers.

Until 2013, Missouri provided portable tax credits to cover up to 35% of production costs if a studio spent more than $100,000 in the state on films longer than half an hour.

But, since the credits ended, shows with Missouri sets, like “Ozark,” “Sharp Objects,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” have been filmed in other states.

Hoskins and Sen. Doug Beck, D-Affton, want to revive the movie tax credit, despite a 2010 recommendation by a panel of lawmakers and business leaders that the tax credits were a waste of money. money.

Michelle Davidson, president of the Missouri Motion Media Association, told committee members that she filmed Missouri-based stories in North Carolina and other states because they offered incentives.

“Hopefully we can strengthen our squad,” Davidson said.

No votes were taken on the two bills presented to the panel.