Entertainment Incentives Move Forward

By Jeff Amy/Associated Press

JACKSON – Incentives for recorded music sound good to some Mississippi lawmakers.

House members voted 110-5 Thursday to pass House Bill 907, which would give up to $1.5 million in subsidies to people who record music or produce expensive concerts or theater performances in the state.

House Tourism Committee Chairwoman Rita Martinson, R-Madison, told the House she believes the measure will lure more recording and concerts to Mississippi.

“I’m tired of Nashville and Muscle Shoals and Atlanta being able to capitalize on our music,” she said.

An out-of-state company spending at least $15,000 on recording would get a 25 percent rebate, as would an in-state company spending at least $5,000. Up to $1 million in rebates could be given yearly.

The bill says a company spending at least $100,000 on a musical or theatrical production could get a 25 percent rebate. Up to $500,000 in those rebates could be given yearly. That part of the bill is mainly aimed at groups that rent an arena to rehearse for a tour.

A number of major touring acts have used the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo for pre-tour rehearsals.

The measure was drafted after an entertainment industry study committee met over the summer. Incentives for musicians and theaters would join enhanced film and TV incentives in place in Mississippi. It’s modeled on a tax incentive offered in Louisiana, which allows up to $3 million a year in tax credits for musical recording.

Indiana also provides incentives for musical recordings.

Since 2009, Mississippi has given cash rebates equal to 25 percent of in-state spending on nationally distributed television, movie, commercial and video game production, as long as the project spends $50,000. Through 2014, Mississippi Development Authority records show the state has given $8 million in rebates on $38.8 million in Mississippi spending.

The music incentives would begin July 1, 2016 and run through June 2019 under the bill.

“They all say they want an authentic experience in the authentic areas of Mississippi,” Martinson said. “It would give us a good chance to test this out.”

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