We could learn from the experience of others. Two years ago, Texas lawmakers slashed the funds for their film incentive program. They quickly rectified y their mistake this year by allocating a record $95 million to attract the film industry to their state.
Fortunately, the sunset date on Oklahoma’s film program is not until July 1, 2014, so lawmakers have one more chance to make the right decision for Oklahoma.
Of course, programs such as this demand accountability and if the legislature does not want to accept the reports of the individual agency as to the program’s effectiveness, it is their responsibility to acquire the empirical data that they will accept. That is the answer to questions of accuracy, not short-sighted and specious arguments followed by hurry-up legislation.
Finally, we have an incentive program that generates a return for the state. Let’s hope lawmakers stop the theatrics and get down to this serious business — before the film industry packs up and takes the jobs to Texas. It makes good business sense for Oklahoma.
Gean B. Atkinson is a former member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and is currently a Tourism Commissioner for Oklahoma’s Fifth Congressional District.