No new county taxes are needed
Tulsa County elected officials were circulating a petition to put a sales tax increase on the November ballot to raise millions of dollars for a new juvenile detention center and additions to the county jail.
There are signs they are rethinking that position. It’s true that both facilities need more space but this was the wrong solution to the problem.
In 2003, Tulsa County voters approved a “temporary” sales tax (Vision 2025) that is set to expire in 2017. That tax is producing way more revenue than is required to pay for the bonds that were borrowed to complete the projects promised in that 2003 vote.
Officials who promoted Vision 2025 in 2003 said they would stop the sales tax once the money was raised but that was never made part of the vote. Those city and county officials are no longer in office and are not accountable to those promises. Promotion of this new 0.167-cent county sales tax increase want a permanent tax that will pay back money the county wishes to borrow for whatever project arises.
Last November, county voters rejected a continuation of the Vision 2025 sales tax in the Vision2 vote.
Some officials didn’t get the message from that vote.
Tulsa County has money in reserve and it is more than enough to pay for improvements on a pay-as-you-go basis. Certain bankers, bondsmen and chamber hacks want government to borrow money and stay away from pay-as-you-go projects (which cost far less in the process). Pay-as-you-go works great for Oklahoma City’s government.
Here’s hoping county residents see the folly in this tax increase and it stays off the ballot.
Let’s use an existing funding stream before raising sales tax that is already too high.