GMP Legislative Update for March 2020

GMPtemp Blog

Thursday, March 12th is crossover day and the need to get legislation from one chamber to the other is critical for a bill to survive. We are tracking and supporting several bills as well as keeping an eye on some troublesome trends we are seeing nationally to keep them from arising here.  

SB 441:  Amendment to Georgia Music Investment Act- Sponsor Senator Jeff Mullis. Senator Mullis has been a long time supporter of growing the music industry in Georgia. This bill is a clean up bill to make some changes to the existing music incentive to allow it to be utilized bringing production investment to the state. This bill lowers the spending thresholds for tour origination, scoring and recording, it allows for the spending to be aggregated and provides a rebate to qualified productions. SB 441 was passed through the Finance Committee by a vote of 9-1, and we hope it will make it to the Senate floor for a vote by Thursday (the last day to keep it alive).  Here are the specific points addressed by this “fix bill”:

  • Lowers thresholds for recording from $100,000 to $50,000
  • Lowers thresholds for touring from $250,000 to $100,000
  • Raises tax credit from 15% to 25% (Keeps the 5% uplift for rural)
  • Lowers the cap for 2020-2023 from $15 million to $5 million
  • Refund Language: Any tax credit earned and claimed by a production company pursuant to this Code section on or after July 1, 2020, that exceeds such production company’s income tax liability shall be refunded to the production company

HB 347: Amendment to Georgia Music Investment Act- Sponsored by Rep. Josh Bonner.  This bill was heard in February, 2019 by the Working Group on Creative Arts & Entertainmnet but has not been moved forward.  Similar to SB 441, this bill is a clean up bill to the existing music incentive.  This bill lowers the spending thresholds for tour origination, scoring and recording, it allows for the spending to be aggregated and provides a transferable credit  to qualified productions.  

HB 1037: Sponsored by Rep. Matt Dollar.  This bill’s intent is to address some of the issues around the administration of the film incentive brought to light by the recent audit.  This bill tightens up a few loopholes and requires mandatory audits of all qualifying projects. In committee, a component to include music licensing as a qualified credit was added by Rep. Beth Moore, unfortunately this was removed ahead of the Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Moore has introduced separate legislation to add music licensing to qualified productions see below.  

HB 1130: Sponsored by Rep. Beth Moore. This bill would add music licensing to the list of items qualified under what is deemed a production expenditure in the film tax credit.  It creates a new definition of qualified Georgia music expenditure to include music that is derived from composers of the sound that are legal residents of Georgia or the pre-cleared music library is housed in Georgia and paid in-state taxes the previous year.

SB 428: Sponsored by Rep. Bill Cowsert  This bill is also knows as the Truth in Music Advertising Act.  It is an amendment to the Fair Business Practices Act of 1975 so as to prohibit the deceptive practice of musical performance groups advertising and appearing as the recording group without the recording group’s permission or denoting that it is a salute or tribute performance; to provide for definitions; to specify violations; This bill is expected to make it to the Senate floor for a vote this week.

HB 891: Sponsored by Rep. Matthew Gambrill.  This bill deals with extending the exemption of sales and use for arts organizations ticket sales.  Currently waiting on hearing in Ways and Means. 

HB 341: Sponsored by Rep. Matt Dollar.  This bill updates the terminology relating to the reproduction of recorded material. It now makes the following devices illegal to circulate unless they bear the actual name or address of the transferor prominently: “memory card, flash drive, hard drive, and data storage device”. Any such property will be considered contraband, and no person shall have a property right to it.