Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live

‘The Nance’ funny and painful, historical and modern

“The Nance,” a stage play written by Douglas Carter Beane, presents a gay old time in the homosexual hist...

'Evergreen: The Road to Legalization' comprehensively surveys the issue

"Evergreen: The Road to Legalization" fulfills the promise of its title. In an information-packed 86 minute...

‘Third Person’ is unrewardingly complicated

The complications of this film start with the title. “Third Person” refers, of course, to pronoun usage: ...

‘Obvious Child’ plays it honest — and funny

Not since 1972 has abortion been treated with so much compassion, humor, honesty and reality. November 1972 was when ...

St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase offers diversity and talent

The 14th Annual Cinema St. Louis Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase takes over Landmark's Tivoli Theatre from...

Monday, 07 February 2011 14:50

Eliminating Missouri’s Film Tax Credit is Just Plain Stupid

Eliminating Missouri’s Film Tax Credit is Just Plain Stupid
Written by Bill Boll
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

In 1995, I was living in Los Angeles and working as TROMA, Inc.’s west coast director of development.  The most glamorous thing about the job was my business card, but it did have an occasional perk--like the fancy invitation for a reception by the North Carolina Film Office. 

 It promised free food and booze, and the chance to hang out with a couple A-list celebrities.  (Kevin Costner?  Barbara Streisand?  I forget, I was more interested in the free food and booze.)  They had a pretty impressive spread, even an ice swan.  I stuffed myself with poached salmon and premium gin martini’s; all I had to do was to pretend to seriously consider shooting the next Toxic Avenger movie in and around Wilmington.

Around that time, the Hollywood Reporter put out its annual locations issue, crammed with ads by film offices and commissions from virtually every state.  Dwarfed by the full and half-page display ads was a tiny, text-only box inviting the reader to shoot in Missouri.  At that moment, it hit me that my home state was not serious about courting film productions.  Fifteen years later, as  Governor Nixon plans to eliminate Missouri’s film tax credit, I can see that the situation has not improved.

A state tax credit functions pretty much the way a store coupon does.  A store issues a coupon as an incentive to shop there, as a way of bringing in business it wouldn’t otherwise have.  An effective coupon increases the store’s overall profit by increasing its sales volume, even though the profit-per-transaction is lower.  States issue film tax credits to entice film productions, which help the economy both by increasing business in the private sector (hotels, restaurants, etc.) and by increasing the state’s tax revenue.  Because of the potential windfalls—and because it costs nothing besides administrative effort—forty states offer tax incentives to lure filmmakers.  It is a highly competitive market.

 

Inexplicably, Missouri is pulling itself out of this market at just the time our economy needs it the most.  The budget committee who recommended eliminating the credit claimed that it didn’t give a positive return on the investment.  This is patently untrue—so how could they say that?  Mike Ketcher told me the committee used a model that inaccurately under-calculated the economic activity film productions generate.  He said the model placed great emphasis on the number of full-time jobs created in the state.  This might be appropriate for the coal industry or the wine industry, but the film industry doesn’t work that way.  Another factor might be the pitifully small amount of financial incentives the Missouri film tax credit has provided: $4.5 million annually.  This is the smallest tax credit that any state offers to filmmakers, and also less than 1% of the total amount of tax credits available in Missouri.  Filmmakers who want to do business in Missouri must effectively “wait in line” for the limited funds; many are turned away or offered only a fraction of what they could get elsewhere.  For the budget committee to complain about small positive returns is like a store offering a coupon’s discount to the first ten customers only, and then complaining that the coupon didn’t bring in much business.

 

The budget committee also said that the film tax credit served “too narrow an industry.”  This is also BS, considering how much of a production’s budget goes to ordinary businesses like restaurants and hotels.  Productions have to rent locations and hire security guards, drivers and extras, none of whom are “industry professionals.”  Brent Jaimes told me about a little mom-and-pop frame shop that got like $27,000 in business from “Up in the Air.”  Stuff like that is pretty typical.

 

I don’t really foresee St. Louis having a burgeoning film industry like North Carolina, Louisiana and Michigan have.  But I do think that a decent tax credit would keep us in the running for films that actually WANT to shoot here, for whatever reason.  It would give us a level playing field.  Eliminating the credit altogether would force productions to go elsewhere.  And the Gateway Arch?  They can just CGI it in post.

 

This opinion piece was written by Bill Boll, a filmmaker and musician, and the night-time cablecaster at KDHX.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


Dad Jr: Get Down. Hard.

Sun June 29

Graham Pagano

Mon June 23
Graham Pagano's debut album Quit Complaining is a high charged mix of old and new music. his old blues and classic country feel blended up with a rock and roll attitude makes this stripped down album explode…

KDHX Recommends

July
Saturday
26

Genevieve at Harvest Sessions 2014

Genevieve at Harvest Sessions 2014 Harvest Sessions welcomes Genevieve -- featuring Rebecca Ryan and Leslie Sanazaro -- to the West Pool Pavilion for a morning of acoustic music. This free Saturday morning concert series takes place at the Tower Grove Farmers'...


July
Sunday
27

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes Sugar Free All-Stars

88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round Welcomes Sugar Free All-Stars 88.1 KDHX Musical Merry-Go-Round welcomes Sugar Free All-Stars for a family matinee Sunday, July 27 at Noon. Kids under two are free. $8 advance tickets on sale now. Tickets available at the door for $10. Kids under two are free. For...


July
Thursday
31

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys KDHX presents Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys at The Stage, July 31 at 8pm. Tickets available online.   Born in Louisiana and raised in Missouri, Folk remembers watching his Dad pick the country blues on a...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

8 users and 10037 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook