Editorial: Bigger government is the plan

City Councilor Blake Ewing wants more local and federal tax dollars to build a massive transit hub in Downtown Tulsa.

He has not released details for this plan to grow government but it involves bridges over railroad tracks and would facilitate bus service, biking, parking and passenger rail service.

This monstrous plan is consistent with PlaniTulsa, densification and expansion of city government.

Ewing owns a business downtown and is the perfect pitch man for the chamber and other powerful businessmen who own property downtown.

Starting with a massive county sales tax increase in 2003 (Vision 2025), Tulsans have invested more than $400,000,000.00 in Downtown while the rest of the city drives on terrible streets and deals with crumbling infrastructure.

Those tax dollars are subsidizing downtown housing and benefitting private companies, like the Tulsa Drillers. What other parts of Tulsa get city subsidies for private housing?

As Vision 2025 thankfully retires in 2017, Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Ewing and his fellow councilors can’t wait to pass another sales tax increase, which will be devoted primarily to improvements on the Arkansas River and other pet projects.

Historically, when city leaders asked for more money, there was a benefit to all parts of the city that had to pay for those increases. Now, with the backing of the chamber, city officials blatantly spend the bulk of the money downtown even though most Tulsans don’t live or work or even visit downtown.

So, they want to increase sales tax – a regressive tax that hurts poor Tulsans more than rich Tulsans – to benefit property owners downtown and raise revenue for the chamber through higher hotel/motel taxes. And they will want to borrow money through bonds instead of a pay-as-you-go policy.

Why would anyone in South Tulsa, West Tulsa, East Tulsa or North Tulsa support this kind of taxation without representation? Why would anyone outside of Midtown or Downtown want this mismanagement? Why would councilors whose districts lie outside of Downtown and Midtown agree to devote most of the city’s discretionary taxes to projects that benefit only a handful of powerful businessmen and the chamber?

Here are the facts. Almost all Tulsans drive their cars to work. They don’t take a bus. They don’t ride a bicycle and they don’t walk to work.  And they don’t want passenger rail service subsidized by the local government and propped up by federal funds that add to the national debt.

Blake doesn’t understand this. He is a shrewd businessman posing as a public servant. Smart capitalists like to benefit from spending someone else’s money and not their own. That is the heart of his proposal.

A vibrant Downtown would be good for Tulsa. But just like in the rest of the city, that development should be from private sources, not the government. Tulsa has the highest property taxes in the state and Ewing and his cohorts want to increase sales tax to waste money downtown.

It’s time for a tax revolt in Tulsa. It’s time for voters to become informed about the tax-and-spend policies of the mayor and councilors. It’s time for fiscally responsible citizen/legislators to win elections and do what is best for the city and not feather their own nest.