Editorial: Power politics and the chamber

The Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce claims that it doesn’t use any money from the hotel tax to fund its political activities.

They expect the public to believe that.

The chamber recently installed a new chairman and he has vowed to work against the election of any state lawmaker who dares to defy the tax-raising policies of the chamber.

He said the chamber will actively recruit and finance candidates to challenge any candidate or office holder who doesn’t meet this standard for massive, permanent tax increases and teacher pay hikes.

He called it a “zero-tolerance stance.”

So, a quasi-governmental agency that operates as a private entity yet still gets millions in taxpayer funds will spend thousands – maybe tens of thousands – of dollars to force the will of their leadership on Tulsa voters.

In Tulsa, you dare not defy the will of the chamber.

And you won’t find any argument about this situation from Mayor G.T. Bynum and the nine councilors. Most are expecting some financial help for their re-election campaigns this year and it wouldn’t be prudent to upset the overlords of the chamber by questioning their use of taxpayer money.

The chamber president says the top priority is public education but the real priority is growing government. The chamber leadership wants higher sales taxes because those are paid disproportionately by the middle class and the poor. They do not want higher property taxes because that impacts rich people.

The answer to this power grab is for grassroots Tulsans to rise up and support candidates who will stand up to the chamber and stop the growth of government.