A mistake on the summary page of a report about Oklahoma’s film rebate resulted in the public, media and at least one member of the Incentive Evaluation Commission thinking the commission had voted in favor of potentially repealing the rebate.
In reality, PFM Group’s Randall Bauer said prior to today’s latest commission meeting that his company had not recommended the film rebate be considered for repeal by the Legislature. Oklahoma Watch had spoken with Bauer after the previous week’s meeting and reported Bauer’s revelation, while NonDoc and others in attendance did not hear the mistake’s clarification, which Bauer said he announced.
“I thought we were voting on repeal or sunset,” OU economics professor and commission member Cynthia Rogers said today. “That’s the draft I saw.”
Bauer displayed frustration over the matter before Tuesday’s meeting, questioning why people kept asking him about it.
“I’ve answered this question now three or four different ways,” he said, raising his voice. “It wasn’t a change. It was a mistake.”
He said he alerted commissioners about the mistake on the report’s “At A Glance” page, but asked when exactly he had done so, he said, “I don’t remember.”
“The report stands by itself,” Bauer said.
Tava Sofsky, director of the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, expressed frustration with the mistake but also relief that the official recommendation to legislators will be to let the rebate sunset as scheduled in 2024.
“For us, this is good news,” said Sofsky, who made a passionate plea during public comment on the reports in early November. “I wish it was crystal clear. PFM never included the word ‘repeal’ in their entire report except for the ‘At A Glance’ page.”
Sofsky said she wished the report would be updated on iec.ok.gov where it still lists the mistake under the heading “Retain, Reconfigure, or Repeal?”
“The confusion needs to be corrected,” she said prior to Tuesday’s meeting. “I think there’s just been confusion since the report.”
Bauer noted during the meeting that the draft reports — which included the error — will remain on the site for transparency, and the final reports approved by the commission will be added.
Here is the draft report, including the mistake:
Industrial Road Access Program
At last week’s meeting, the commission tabled action on the Industrial Road Access Program, which PFM Group had recommended for repeal. Deby Snodgrass, executive director of the Oklahoma Commerce Department, questioned whether the commission had the authority to address the ODOT program.
Tuesday, commissioners voted to disapprove the PFM Group report for the program based on those same concerns — that the supposed “incentive” was not an actual incentive and was instead a non-line-item budget element of ODOT.
The motion to disapprove that report passed. The commission will send its final report to the governor and legislative leaders by Dec. 15, and it will consider a new set of incentives beginning in 2017.