TN lawmakers approve millions in tax incentives for TV, movie productions

Tennessee Politics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Lawmakers are hoping new tax incentives will attract movie, television, and digital production companies to Tennessee.

“Arts and entertainment are huge components of who we are culturally in the state of Tennessee which is great,” Rep. Ryan Williams, the Republican Chairman of the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee said.

Tennessee, through the Department of Economic and Community Development will create a point of purchase sales tax exemption and adjust certain tax credits on qualified productions for labor and talent.

“We’ve been funding arts and entertainment production across the state in a completely different way; it was usually first dollars advocating, trying to get these people to come to tape or film or do whatever their production might be in Tennessee without having a real investment from those production companies upfront,” Williams said.

At a cost of about $1.3 million in the first fiscal year and in 2027-2028, the cost will be $15.7 million in subsequent years.

“The difference about this is that as more production companies come, they’re more tax incentives that build overtime and so when they build over time, we’re able to take those monies and give it to them in tax credit,” Williams said.

Not only are film and television companies invited to use the tax credits, but gaming design companies will also qualify.

“Gaming is obviously continuing to grow the technology and the realistic nature of gaming now is directly related to the amount of hours that you’re actually investing in design,” he said.

Supporters of the bill that was signed by Governor Bill Lee in late March say it has the potential to provide significant support to local economies.

“It also supports local businesses that support these businesses like catering companies, food companies, hotel and motels and those things, so it encourages them to do long-standing productions here as well,” Williams said.

The lone no vote from both the House or the Senate came from Democrat Representative John Mark Windle.

Knoxville-based RIVR media has announced they will open a state of the art production center in the summer.

Veggie Tales is another company eyeing potential use of the tax incentives.

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