Call for Music Production Tax Credits Sounds Familiar
Gateway Studios is using a hodgepodge of incentives to build a $130 million music production facility in Chesterfield. The company is also lobbying to create a state incentive program specifically for the music production industry. While I’m not opposed to making Chesterfield the new Nashville, it’s a lofty goal that interested parties want to achieve using taxpayer dollars and government handouts. Is anyone else getting déjà vu? This is sounding eerily similar to the colossal failure that was Missouri’s film production tax credit program.
The state’s film tax credit program was intended to stimulate the film industry by reducing a studio’s tax liability. Thankfully, the film tax credit program sunset in 2013. The program was a failure. The Tax Credit Review Commission recommended that the tax credit be eliminated because it served too narrow of an industry and didn’t provide a positive return on investment. There was very little evidence that the program delivered on any of its promises. Do we really think the music production tax credit will produce a different result under very similar circumstances?
Show-Me Institute writers have been arguing against the film tax credit program for years (this tax credit program continues to haunt the legislature). What was said about that program also rings true for a potential music production tax program: If this industry cannot succeed in Missouri without government assistance, then maybe it shouldn’t be here.
Missouri certainly wasn’t the next Hollywood, but perhaps there’s potential for us to be the country’s next music capital. But that isn’t for the government to decide. If a private company wants to make it happen, great! Lawmakers, on the other hand, should not be giving out incentives (on the backs of other taxpayers) to artificially boost music production companies. It didn’t work with film tax credits—why should we expect a music production tax credit to be any different?