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Bill to keep film rebates approved

Devon Green March 4th, 2014

UPDATE: After a failure in the House by a very narrow margin yesterday, HB 2580 was reconsidered and passed. HB 2580 requests an extension of the incentive program for films being made in Oklahoma.

 If the measure had failed, the program would end in July of this year. Due to the lack of majority votes necessary to kill the bill when it was heard yesterday, the bill was reheard today, and was passed with 65 "yea" votes. 51 or more votes were needed for majority rule, and the program is now effectively in place through 2024. 

A spokesperson for the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, which is affiliated with the Oklahoma Bureau of Tourism said that they are, along with the Oklahoma Movie Industry are, "relieved and celebrating the good news."

The House bill to extend the life of state film incentives and rebates, HB 2580, failed to pass with the requisite number of votes in Monday's legislative session. The bill failed by 5 votes.

The bill would have extended the rebate program through July 2024. It now may expire in July 2014. The incentive has been critical to bringing films and related industry revenue into Oklahoma, including Pearl, The Cherokee Word for Water, Bringing Up Bobby, Rudderless and August: Osage County

The Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate reimburses up to 37 percent of state-incurred, movie-related expenditures to companies filming here. 

Oklahoma Gazette contacted Jill Simpson with the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, a branch of the Oklahoma Department of Tourism that helps foster relationships between Oklahoma and the film industry.

Said Simpson: "If we eliminate the film incentive, films will simply no longer be made here. It [Not passing this bill] will cost the millions of dollars spent in Oklahoma by film makers and the jobs that result from it. The film rebate is a sound investment and vital economic stimulus for a growing industry.”

Because the bill lacked the required majority of 51 votes to kill it, it may
 be reheard as soon as Tuesday 
or Wednesday. 

“We are disappointed in the outcome of today's vote but are refocusing our efforts before it is reconsidered 
tomorrow. We remain hopeful it will pass,” Simpson said. 

A Senate bill to keep the rebate program, SB 1721, has passed. The House bill, if reheard, will need at least 51 votes from the 101 House members to get closer to consideration by the governor.

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