Written by Tom Deehan on Nov 21, 2016. Posted in Incentive News

Mississippi film incentive could be axed under Governor’s budget proposal

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has laid out his intention to allow the state’s film incentive programme to sunset in 2017. Bryant’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year which begins July 1st, brings the investment of the state incentive into question and criticises its long-term value.

Detailing his wish to scrap the incentive, Governor Bryant explains: “while I support the jobs and attention that films bring to Mississippi, taxpayers should no longer subsidise the motion picture industry at a loss.”

The state of Mississippi provides a 25% cash rebate if a minimum spend of USD500,000 is incurred locally. The programme currently has an allocated fund of USD20 million per year. Recent productions include  Midnight Special (pictured) and Get on Up.MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

Matt Mitchell, Director of the Project for the Study of American Capitalism at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University adds: “the experiment has run its course and I think people are realising they are not leading to the widespread prosperity they were promised. To some degree, it is a reflection in a new, populist trend that is suspicious toward elites. In the case of film tax credits, it’s a case of policymakers chasing shiny objects.”

Mitchell’s sentiments echo that of a recent study conducted at the USC Price School of Public Policy which argued that film incentives bring little to no return on their investment.

Tax incentives initially became popular as a means of drawing business away from Hollywood and to other parts of the world, as well as other states. One of the most successful examples of a US incentive is Georgia’s 30% tax credit, which had lured major tent-pole projects such as Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 and the Fast & Furious series.

The United Kingdom has also prospered from its 25% tax rebate on filming, which has led to strong productions ties with the US. Pinewood Studios for example has housed a great deal of US-UK co-productions such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

Governor Bryant won’t have the final say on the fate of Mississippi’s incentive however, with the Legislature having the ability to continue the programme.


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