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6/26/2023 New law extends tax credit for musical and theater tours launched in R.I.
STATE HOUSE – A new law sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Hanna M. Gallo and Rep. Lauren H. Carson will extend the state’s existing musical and theater production tax credit program to national tours that skip Broadway and launch right from Rhode Island.

The legislation (2023-S 0464A, 2023-H 5801A) was passed by the General Assembly June 15 and was signed into law by Gov. Dan McKee last week.

Rhode Island has established itself as a leading location from which to launch national tours since it enacted the musical and theater tax credit program in 2011. Since that time, 15 national touring productions have launched from Providence Performing Arts Center, and two more are scheduled in upcoming seasons, as well as one slated at Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

“Our tax credit program has helped Rhode Island become a leader as a location for launching national tours, to the benefit of our economy. We have developed an industry of theater professionals who are located here, and our hospitality industry reaps tremendous benefits from each production. Keeping our program up to date will help Rhode Island remain one of the most sought-after locations for national tour launches, and keep the associated dollars pumping into our economy,” said Senator Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick).

Said Representative Carson (D-Dist. 75, Newport), “All of the national tours that come to Rhode Island generate significant money for Rhode Island businesses — and in particular the hospitality industry and restaurants, most of which are small, local businesses. And tours that launch here are an even bigger boon, because those working to launch them are staying here for several weeks in our hotels, if they are not among the Rhode Islanders that the tours employ. Whether or not the tour has been on Broadway doesn’t make a difference to our willingness to welcome them and their contributions to our economy.”

Prior to the enactment of this law, a production qualified for the tax credit only if the tour launches either following a Broadway production of the show, or as a precursor to a Broadway run that is planned within 36 months of the tour. Without a Broadway run, a tour would not have qualified for Rhode Island’s tax credit program.

According to Janice Anderson, who serves as director of theatrical programming at Providence Performing Arts Center and Veterans Memorial Auditorium, in today’s post-pandemic economy, producers are increasingly choosing to bring productions straight on the road, foregoing the risky economics of a Broadway production.

While Rhode Island benefited from being one of the first states that had a tax incentive for the creation of touring productions, New York and Maryland have since enacted laws that put them in competition with Rhode Island, and Massachusetts and Connecticut are considering similar legislation, Anderson told the during the bill’s committee hearings. Allowing productions to take advantage of the credit whether or not they have a Broadway run will help Rhode Island keep its place as a top location from which to launch a national tour.

The legislation also extends the sunset on the tax credit program from July 2024 to July 2027.

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923