Members of the dominant political party in the Missouri House of Representatives came to Branson to make plans for the upcoming year.
The House Republican Campaign Committee held their 2020 Summer Caucus at the Branson Convention Center Aug. 11 to 13, marking 20 years of being the House majority. Elected representatives and candidates for the House discussed plans for the upcoming special session on taxes, and legislative priorities for the 2023 regular House session.
“I’m really glad we have the HRCC here in Branson,” local District 156 State Rep. Brian Seitz told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “We did this two years ago when I was first running as a candidate, and to be back as a seated representative is a special feeling. It’s a great time for representatives to get together and meet with other candidates from across the state to build better legislation for the state of Missouri.”
Seitz is planning to run for the position of House Majority Whip for the next regular session. The Whip is the member of the party’s caucus who tries to get members voting together to pass their party’s legislative priorities and to help members get their legislation through the House process.
Representatives who spoke with the Branson Tri-Lakes News all commented on their enjoyment of the Branson area.
“We always enjoy it down here,” Rep. Terry Thompson of the 53rd House District, which is southwest of Kansas City. “[My family] has come down here in the fall of the year and it’s very pretty.”
Thompson said the values of Branson and southwest Missouri represent the best values of the Republican Party.
Local Rep. Travis Smith agreed with Thompson, but added there was a bigger reason for the party to come to Branson beyond the area’s strong conservative values.
“We should be down here because tourism is what drives Missouri,” Smith said. “Branson drives tourism. That’s why we want to be down. We want to help the economy.”
Smith, Thompson, and Seitz all said one of the party’s priorities for next session is to bring movie and television tax credits to the forefront to draw Hollywood productions away from Georgia and other states.
“We need to get these movie credits passed,” Thompson said. “I’m from Lexington, Missouri, and we had a military school which went belly-up. A group came out of California, loved its 26 acres, but there were no tax credits so they moved on.”
He noted a hit show on Netflix which he said should have been shot around the Branson area.
“The hit show Ozark is filmed in Georgia,” Thompson said. “It should be filmed here.”
Smith agreed with Thompson.
“It’s silly a show called Ozark is filmed in Georgia,” Smith said. “They’re getting all of the revenue and we’re getting none. We have to get a tax credit.”
Seitz, the sponsor of the bill, said Branson could lead the way on film and TV productions in the state.
“We are the live entertainment capital of at least middle America,” Seitz said. “We can attract movie producers, actors, directors…not only here in Branson but across the state. The Movie Tax Investment Act is good for the entire state.”
Seitz noted Branson has major talent which goes beyond the entertainers on the stage, such as lighting and sound technicians, writers, and others who could benefit from the jobs generated by bringing in out-of-state production companies.
Governor Mike Parson also attended the caucus on Friday morning to speak to the representatives, but left before speaking to the media.