Editorial: No Tulsa chamber of commerce?

Broken Arrow has a chamber of commerce. Bixby has a chamber of commerce. Jenks has a chamber of commerce. Owasso has a chamber of commerce.

Most cities in Oklahoma have a chamber of commerce.

Tulsa does not.

The City of Tulsa doesn’t have its own chamber of commerce. Tulsa has a “regional chamber.”

While chambers in other cities work to promote business within their city limits, Tulsa subsidizes a chamber that promotes business outside the city limits.

That was reinforced as the Tulsa Chamber elected Phil Albert as its new chairman for 2017. Albert owns a company in Claremore.

A Tulsa Chamber president from Claremore?

Albert may be well suited for the position. That’s not the issue.

Albert said he is the chamber’s first “regional chairman.”

Sales tax is the lifeblood of municipal government. Chambers of commerce, though private organizations, should promote retail growth within their city limits. When a chamber praises a retail center in another city, it is biting the hand that feeds it.

That is especially true in Tulsa, where the chamber has gotten tens of millions of dollars from Tulsa’s hotel tax. And since it is a private group, Tulsans never get to see how that hotel tax is being spent.

Albert has pledged to promote Tulsa.

Swell.

What will he do when a large retail center is considering East Tulsa versus Claremore? Will he turn his back on his hometown and promote Tulsa?

Maybe he would be better suited to be the chairman of the state chamber.

This is just more proof that Tulsa Chamber is all about self-interest and not doing what is best for Tulsa. Regionalism is OK but don’t use tax dollars from the City of Tulsa to promote retail development outside the city.