Friday, April 23, 2021

These House members voted to give Hollywood $20 MILLION of your tax dollars

Doesn't it make you feel good knowing that the Oklahoma House of Representatives decided that it's a great idea to up their annual gift to Hollywood from $8,000,000.00 to $20,000,000.00? That's what a bipartisan supermajority of 78 representatives decided to do earlier this week.

House lawmakers voted to provide up to $20 million in annual subsidies to film productions after a legislator declared it a “magical” bill that will produce $17 for every $1 in subsidies issued—despite prior analysis showing the incentive program actually returns just 13 cents per dollar distributed.

Senate Bill 608, by state Rep. Scott Fetgatter, was amended in the House to provide $20 million in annual subsidies for entertainment productions. That’s less than the $50 million previously proposed by Fetgatter but a dramatic increase from the $8 million in film subsidies provided by current law.

“This is a magical piece of legislation that will create jobs for blue-collar workers all across the state of Oklahoma,” said Fetgatter, R-Okmulgee.

He claimed the legislation would produce enormous economic returns.

“For every dollar we spend, there are $17 dollars spent back,” Fetgatter said.

He said if the state provided $50 million in annual film subsidies, it would generate $1.3 billion over five years.

However, the $17 return cited by Fetgatter was 12,976% greater than the 13-cent return a prior analysis showed has been generated by the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program.

Consultants hired by Oklahoma Incentive Evaluation Commission have previously said film subsidies are not economically beneficial and urged lawmakers to eliminate Oklahoma’s film tax credit. [Read more here]

As I mentioned at the top, the bill passed the House by a vote of 78 to 11, with 12 not voting. I put together a graphic showing who voted how. Legislators who are blacked out voted against this foolishness, while those who are grayed out missed the vote (whether on purpose, laziness, or legitimate absence). Members who are unobscured cast votes in favor of giving more of your money to Hollywood fat cats. You can click on the images to view larger, and click here for the link to their respective legislative pages.

This absurd measure now heads to the Senate, where it likely faces as enthusiastic a hearing as it received in the House.


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