Editorial: Downtown parking subsidies?

While Tulsa teachers are underpaid and city streets crumble, Mayor G.T. Bynum wants to spend millions to subsidize parking garages in Downtown Tulsa.

Bynum recommended to the Tulsa Development Authority to give $1,670,000.00 to First Place LLC project for a new 500-space parking garage at the corner of Main and Fourth streets.

This sweet deal, which includes a six-year exemption on local property taxes and a 12-year payback plan, will sweeten the pot for this $13,000,000.00 project.

This is just another part of the grand scheme for the city government to pick winners and losers. The winners are any private development deal in Downtown Tulsa and the losers are the taxpayers and private businesses outside Downtown who don’t have access to special funding help.

If Tulsa really needs more parking downtown, shouldn’t private businesses be able to afford to develop without government help?

The city already subsidizes private housing downtown. In the past 15 years, Tulsa has spent almost half a billion dollars in Downtown projects – projects that were unavailable to private developers elsewhere.

The power brokers at the chamber and their minions in city government for a long time have wanted to enhance the value of their downtown properties using taxpayer subsidies. With the help of the liberal newspapers and TV stations, they have managed to talk voters into approving giant funding packages without a clear understanding of the cost or the favoritism involved.

South Tulsa, West Tulsa, East Tulsa and North Tulsa have tremendous infrastructure needs that are pushed to the back burner while the mayor and his buddies waste money on parking garages Downtown.

What a waste.