Oklahoma House of Representatives defeats film industry incentive

The Oklahoma House of Representatives on Monday narrowly defeated a tax incentive bill designed to attract movie productions to the state.
by Randy Ellis Published: March 4, 2014
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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.

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by Randy Ellis
Capitol Bureau Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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