Mayor, Chamber of Commerce to lead sales tax opposition


Hard to believe? Well, it's not happening here. It's happening in Oklahoma City, where Mayor Kirk Humphreys and the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce are joining forces to defeat a 0.4% permanent county sales tax sought by Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel to fund his department. The Daily Oklahoman quotes Humphreys as saying, "It's too large in the amount of money, it's too loose in accountability and it goes on for too long."

Approval of the tax on May 13 would create an oversight committee, but the members would serve at the Sheriff's pleasure. The tax will raise $30-$35 million a year. The Sheriff could spend it on anything. Mayor Humphreys says that having that kind of money to spend with no oversight would make the Sheriff more powerful than the Governor.

Competition over and coordination of tax elections takes place all the time behind the scenes, as overlapping government entities try to keep the money flowing. An ill-timed bond issue from, say, the Vo-Tech District could make it harder for another taxing authority, such as the city, to extend a sales tax. But an elected local official is usually reluctant to oppose another local official's tax hike, because he doesn't want to create enemies for the next time he must ask the voters for more money. So it's refreshing to see Mayor Humphreys break the code of silence of the Bureaucratic Brotherhood and take a public stand against a bad idea.

Here's the Oklahoman's collection of stories on the proposed tax hike.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 7, 2003 10:21 PM.

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