Oklahoma film incentives program more than doubles


MUMBAI: Oklahoma governor Brad Henry has signed into law a measure that increases the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate up to 37 percent cash back on Oklahoma expenditures, officials with the Oklahoma Film & Music Office announced.
Henry said, "The movie and TV industry has changed dramatically over the last few years, with many states having seen a tremendous increase in film revenues after the passage of similar film legislation. Oklahoma’s beautiful and varied terrain makes the state a perfect locale for film and television productions. A competitive incentives package means we will increasingly be able to share what Oklahoma has to offer with the rest of the world."
Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, who serves as the chair of the Oklahoma Film Commission added, "Oklahoma was one of the first states in the region to offer film rebates but in recent years our neighbors have surpassed our efforts, By enhancing our program we will have the economic tools to compete in attracting companies to Oklahoma."
The provisions of SB 318 will be effective after the first of July, potentially providing motion picture companies up to a 37 percent rebate on Oklahoma expenditures. The rebate includes film, television and commercial productions, with a minimum budget of $50,000 and minimum in-state spending of $25,000. Total rebate payouts remain capped at $5 million per year.
"The increased percentage for our rebate will provide a major boost for Oklahoma’s film industry. In recent years, other states have had a competitive advantage when it came to film incentives. This will effectively put us back at the table with neighboring states doing big business like New Mexico and Louisiana that each offer film rebates and tax credits in the 25-35% range. We’re confident it will be enough to put us over the top in landing several of the potential productions we’ve been working to recruit. It will also allow us to better support and grow our industry in the state," said Oklahoma Film & Music Office director Jill Simpson.
"We are pleased the Legislature took such proactive action. It is such a strong statement in support of our goal to develop creative industry jobs in Oklahoma and raises awareness of our state as a destination," added Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department executive director Hardy Watkins.
The previous incentives program in Oklahoma offered up to 17% cash back on Oklahoma expenditures with a minimum budget threshold of $500,000. The state’s rebate program is administered by the Oklahoma Film & Music Office and the Oklahoma Tax Commission.