Loss of tax credits may harm Oklahoma’s chances at attracting filmmakers

BY JULIE BISBEE Published: May 9, 2010
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/> "We felt it made good sense to explore their possible repeal.”

Effect on reputation
The bill to end the tax credits still doesn’t have overwhelming support. House members are concerned that ending the tax credits midyear could affect projects in Oklahoma and the state’s reputation as a good place to do business. There is also discussion about doing away with the tax credits for a year, but having a firm re-start date, said Rep. Ken Miller, chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

House members wanted a solid return date for the tax credits written into the bill. Others objected to "changing the rules in the last minute of the game,” said Miller, R-Edmond.

"I think you do need to look at your business climate and create a sense of stability,” Miller said. "I think that some on the committee make the argument that this is not the way that Oklahoma wants to do business. We do have to create a stable business climate, especially when we’re coming out of a recession.”

For Burris, tax credits made Oklahoma attractive to film studios scouting for locations and places to do business. Studios doing work in Oklahoma still canreceive rebates through the state’s Film Enhancement Rebate Program.

Burris supports legislation to create additional oversight and accountability for tax credits because he says it’s vital that the state have a stable tax incentive system to continue to lure filmmakers.

"If we were to get rid of those credits, it would shatter all trust that we’ve been building up the last five years,” he said. "These studios have millions of dollars invested and it’s hard for them to trust a state if the overall message is so wishy-washy.”