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Mississippi Lawmakers Move Music and Theater Tax Incentives

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A new tax credit being considered in the Mississippi legislature could have musicians singing a new tune. Lawmakers in the Mississippi house have approved a tax credit for musicians and labels that record or perform in the state.

The credit would be a 25-percent rebate to out of state companies that spend at least 15-thousand dollars recording music in Mississippi, and for in-state companies that spending 5-thousand.

It would also offer rebates for performances that cost at least 100-thousand dollars.

Speaking on the floor of the House, representative Rita Martinson of Madison says the goal is to attract artists to Mississippi, and stop local musicians leaving.

"I am tired of letting Nashville, and Muscle Shoals and Atlanta and all these places capitalize on Mississippi's music," Martinson said.

The credit is similar to a film and television tax credit that has existed since 2009 and is considered partly responsible for attracting several big budget movies to Mississippi, like the James Brown Bio-pic 'Get On Up'.
Representative Martinson says the return on that credit has been huge.

"We have given away 8-million dollars in rebates but we have realized 38.8-million dollars in spend. We could do the same thing with recording studios and live performances as well," Martinson said.

The bill puts a limit of 1-and-a half million dollars a year in tax credits.

It passed the house 110-to-5 and heads to the State Senate.