Oklahoma City officials, to their credit, are thinking twice about investing in an Indian museum that will cost $1,500,000.00 in losses a year to operate.
Oklahoma City Councilors are criticizing the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum – a half-hearted, half-built money pit that is sucking funds out of the state’s general fund at an alarming rate.
Legislators last year voted to approved $25,000,000.00 in bonds to help complete the museum. That’s right – $25,000,000.00 won’t get the job done. The state needs Oklahoma City to pay the rest. But that city is suffering a sales tax revenue shortfall and other projects are much more important than a museum.
All told, the total government investment in this boondoggle could top $100,000,000.00. The state pays almost $2,000,000.00 in operating expenses, salaries and security for a museum that isn’t even close to being open for business. Construction stopped three years ago when money ran out.
The GOP-led Legislature, when they approved the $25,000,000.00 for the Indian museum, bowed to the wishes of the Tulsa chamber and passed a second bond issue for $25,000,000.00 for a pop culture museum in Tulsa.
If Oklahoma City gets a money pit, by golly, Tulsa should have one, too.
The state is projecting a billion dollar shortfall. Museums don’t make money and are a luxury item.
Oklahoma City would be wise to step away from this unnecessary problem.