An Oklahoma lawmaker blasted Hollywood morals and the way filmmakers portray Oklahoma on Monday as the state House narrowly defeated a tax incentive bill designed to attract movie productions to the state.
The vote was 48-43 in favor of passage, but fell three votes shy of the 51 necessary to constitute a majority of the House.
Critics — and there were plenty of them — said the movie about a flawed Oklahoma family and its overbearing matriarch was a prime example of why the state’s film-incentive program should not be renewed.
“Aren’t we just reimbursing movie stars who come to town for their motel and meals?” asked Rep. James Lockhart, D-Hartshorne.
“If you could bring the whole city of Hollywood here, … I wouldn’t want them,” said Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City.
Dank, a particularly intractable opponent of the program, said “August: Osage County” was bad for the state’s image.
The bill would extend for 10 years a tax credit that allows filmmakers to receive rebates of up to $5 million a year on money spent on movie productions in Oklahoma. Current law, which is scheduled to expire July 1, allows filmmakers to recoup $1 for every $3 spent in the state up to the program’s limit.
“Don’t expect us to pay for a film about a dysfunctional family or a 50-year-old president that marries his 20-year-old adopted stepdaughter,” state Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, said of the recently released film “August: Osage County” that was filmed in Oklahoma and another planned movie about the life of the late Oklahoma Gov. E.W. Marland, of Ponca City.