The Norman Transcript

Columns

June 10, 2013

An incentive worth granting

NORMAN — Government incentives can become onerous things. Left without constant scrutiny, a once viable and logical incentive can deteriorate into an insidious waste of taxpayer money.

But sometimes, they also work just as they were designed and stimulate an industry that provides income for Oklahoma. 

And that is clearly the case with the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program. This program, which was started with a mere $150,000 and has generated millions of dollars in direct and indirect income to our state coffers over the last nine years, was not renewed by the legislature the night before it adjourned sine die. In addition to helter-skelter arguments against the bill, a few legislators, in a last minute panic attack to defeat the measure, questioned the income figures reported by the Film Commission.

SB1126 would have extended the sunset, or ending date, on the film program to 2024 and raised the cap on the film rebate fund from $5 million to $8 million. These funds are awarded to companies who agree to certain stipulations and produce films in Oklahoma and only after the completion of photography.

Nearly 80 of these films have been shot since 2004 and, in addition to increasing the exposure of our beautiful state to national and international audiences have accounted for a return for our state of 3:1 in direct dollars. Hotels, restaurants, local labor pools have all been stimulated and generated substantial tax dollars in addition to the actual cash outlays of the film companies. In fact, in FY 2012 alone, the $5 million rebate invested in six films created 512 jobs and returned $15 million in direct dollars to Oklahoma’s economy. That’s math everyone can understand.

Apparently, the communities that have been the recipients’ of these efforts like them. According to Julie Daniels, former mayor of Bartlesville, “The benefits of the film rebate program in Bartlesville can be seen in the sale of goods and services, contract employment plus increased sales tax revenue. Especially important, it has given our local a talent a chance to work in their hometown.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Congress should close gaps

    Of all of Edward Snowden’s revelations about electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, the most unsettling was that the government was accumulating vast numbers of records about the telephone calls of American citizens. In ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Border obsession overlooks trade

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry made headlines recently by ordering 1,000 National Guard troops to the border. This bravado comes at a price: $12 million a month. Perry plans to send the bill the federal government. That’s one way to finance your ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Intercession badly needed in this world

    Yesterday was my feast day, or as the Italians call it, my “onomastico.” Since I live in the United States, it went completely unnoticed. If I lived in Italy, however, I would have been showered with cards and phone calls. That’s because ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Porch leap looked muchbigger as a kid

    It’s no secret that porch designs have changed over the years. Drive through new Norman developments and look at the porches. Most only have room for a potted plant and a spot to drop those UPS packages, no place for a porch swing or ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Keeping the war buried

    International outrage over the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane over Ukraine on July 17 does not appear to have affected either the actions of pro-Russia forces in that country or the material support Russia is offering the rebels. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Gaza’s victims: civilians and peace

    After more than two weeks of fighting between Hamas and Israel, there is no question which side has the upper hand. Thursday’s strike on a U.N.-run school for Palestinian children increased the Palestinian death toll to more than 760. By ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014