Local News: The River Tax (OT)
Tulsa county voters are being asked to fund a major renovation along the Arkansas River, a project that will give the city of Tulsa a truly jewel-like river park. The proposal will cost $280 million and taxpayers will vote on raising the county-wide sales tax to 8.917% from 8.517%. We pay sales tax on every purchase, including food.
Locally, Owasso taxpayers are being asked to vote an increase in the millage rate (real estate tax) to raise $45 million for a new elementary school.
Given the choice, which is a better use of my tax money? Let's see...pay more tax monies to benefit the community I live in, or pay more tax monies to benefit a narrow corridor in Tulsa? That's an easy one.
Honestly, I do think the River Parks can be developed further into a world-class park facility. But since the benefits accrue to Tulsa businesses and property owners, they should pay for it themselves. Building a wonderful park system 15 or 20 miles away from Owasso will not have any positive impact for outlying taxpayers. Tulsa gets the benefits and we get to pay for them.
Would Tulsa taxpayers consider paying for parks here in Owasso? Or Collinsville or Broken Arrow? Of course not!
Some of the arguments in favor of the proposition have been downright silly. The latest was in today's newspaper, arguing that building a new park will attract droves of young people to area businesses, and these new folks will contribute so much money to the economy that the city will be able to rebuild our crumbling roads and road infrastructure. These people must have attended that same voodoo economic course as the Reagan administration.
Don't misunderstand me - I'm not opposed to paying taxes when the money goes to something that provides real, tangible benefits. But when faced with a stark choice - a local school or a distant park - the right choice is very clear.