ATLANTA -- There’s an effort in the Georgia legislature to provide tax breaks for the state's music industry. It would mimic efforts to lure filmmakers to the state with state tax breaks.
The bill would provide a tax break on royalty income paid to musicians – with an eye on keeping Georgia musicians from moving elsewhere to make their music.
Although Georgia has a long music history and is home to a lively hip-hop community, Rep. Steve Dollar (R-Marietta) thinks it could do better. "We have a lot of music natural resources here and what is happening is, we’re losing a lot of that."
Dollar says many of them choose to work in Nashville because "Tennessee has no income tax."
He is sponsoring a bill that would exempt musicians from paying state income tax on music royalties – which he says, would make Georgia musicians less likely to leave for places like Nashville. He also thinks it may jumpstart Georgia’s music industry the way tax breaks did for the state’s thriving film industry.
Although the movie tax breaks are popular among the conservatives who run Georgia government, the bill will face scrutiny from conservative critics.
"There’s no need to look at any specific group and decide that they need something that the rest of Georgians don’t," said Michael Harden of Georgians for Prosoperity, which advocates for smaller government. "We need to look at tax reform."
Dollar counters by saying his bill would create jobs. "I think the music industry has tremendous potential in Georgia, to grow the industry and create jobs and that’s what we’re here to do."