SB 608 will expand state support for TV and movie projects

Rep. Ken Luttrell

We are just days away from the constitutionally required adjournment date of May 28. Last week we got quite a bit done, including passing multiple bills and the FY22 State Budget, but I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight one bill in particular that could possibly benefit our district in the future.

Senate Bill 608, also known as the “Filmed in Oklahoma Act of 2021,” passed the House and Senate last week and was on its way to the governor’s desk. This bill establishes a $30 million cap on first-come, first-served rebates for TV and film productions in Oklahoma.

This new rebate package builds on the tremendous success of the state’s existing rebate program, which had a cap of $8 million, and the bill strengthens requirements for the use of Oklahoma locations and facilities in order to qualify for the maximum rebates.

In Fiscal Year 2020, the $8 million investment made in film and TV productions resulted in more than $32.8 million spent directly on Oklahoma crews and vendors, with 3,960 jobs created for Oklahoma residents. In the current fiscal year, the estimate was for 33 film and TV productions creating 10,218 local jobs with a direct economic impact of $161.7 million.

We have felt the direct impact of this industry in District 37, as the upcoming Hollywood blockbuster adaptation of “Killers of the Flower Moon” is being filmed in Osage County. This movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, is being adapted from a book of the same name and chronicles the murders of Osage Nation citizens in the 1920s. The brutal killings became known as the "Reign of Terror" and the center of a major investigation by the then-newly formed FBI.

Early estimates for "Killers of the Flower Moon" indicate an economic impact of $24 million, including $10 million in projected visitor spending, more than $367,000 in sales tax generated and about $150,000 in lodging tax. This is a real-life example of the benefit of Oklahoma’s tax rebate program, and it is my hope that the expanded program will attract even more projects to our state and specifically our district.

That’s it for this time. If I can help you with anything, feel free to call my Capitol office at 405-557-7355 or email me at ken.luttrell@okhouse.gov.