Editorial: Less revenues, more city bonding

Keep your hand on your wallets.

Thanks to a nearly billion-dollar sales tax increase, a lot more money is pouring into Tulsa city coffers.

Mayor G.T. Bynum and the nine compliant councilors can’t wait to start spending the borrowed money that is supposed to be repaid by increased sales tax.

The concept of “pay as you go” in government is dead. State government, county government, municipal government and school districts all borrow the maximum amount possible. Leaders don’t really care about long-term debt because they probably won’t be in office when the notes come due.

Here’s the problem.

What happens when revenue streams dry up?

This is the trend for Tulsa’s sales tax. More people are buying stuff online and not paying the tax. Others are tired of Tulsa’s high sales tax rate and buying stuff in adjoining counties or even in other states.

It’s a fact.

So Tulsa is borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars that is supposed to be repaid by sales taxes that are getting smaller and smaller.

This reckless public policy essentially means the current mayor and city councilors get to spend money now and future mayors and councilors will have to find a way to pay for it.

A more prudent way to fund city needs is to pay for projects as the revenues come in. That way, you can more easily navigate shortfalls.

But it’s more fun to spend someone else’s money than your own and that is the underlying theme of government.

We will see how that works when interest rates soar and inflation returns.