They'll never stop begging

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Oklahoma City taxpayers raised their sales tax rate to build a new state-of-the-art arena and renovate their convention center (the Myriad -- rechristened as the Cox Convention Center). The same tax built a new baseball park and a canal. A later incarnation of the same tax was used to revamp the barely-five-year-old arena to accommodate the whims of a small number of freakishly tall millionaires.

Surely all that public investment is sufficient to stimulate private investment. Surely free enterprise can handle things from here.

Not according to a consultant hired by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce:

Oklahoma City is faring well as a conference destination, but its convention center is inadequate and must be replaced if the city is to remain competitive, according to a study commissioned by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

The study by Conventions, Sports & Leisure International, released today, suggests that replacing the 38-year-old Cox Convention Center will cost between $250 million and $400 million.

Mayor Mick Cornett has suggested for the past two years that any MAPS 3 should include a new convention center as a priority project. That call is being joined by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber.

No matter how much the taxpayers give them, it's never enough.

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4 Comments

As Iago the Parrot said, "What a surprise. I think I am gonna have a heart attack and die because of that surprise."

econ Author Profile Page said:

I was actually a little surprised by this announcement at this particular time. The spending - will it ever stop?

S. Lee Author Profile Page said:

Then again, now might be a good time to invest $400 million in China. If more convention center stuff it must be, I think I would go with ten $40 million centers instead of one $400 million center. Or, go for the micro-convention market and build a hundred $4 million convention centers.

Why does it always have to be convention bidness that is the object of competitiveness? Why don't consultants ever say: If you want to be competitive in the beer brewing bidness, you need to build a $400 million brewery ... and offer free beer. (Of course!) A $400 million Starbucks would get a few people excited. A $400 million pile of pennies would be quite the tourist attraction with the extra advantage that, if you ever need the money, you can spend it.

And if Tulsa Buddhists are putting in a new statue, OKC should be eager to retain its competitive edge and put in a $400 million statue of Racquel Welch. Remember her? I think we all agree the world would be a much better place with a $400 million statue of Racquel. (Goodbye Golden Driller.)

So many wonderful things one can do with $400 million. I had that much once, but I blew it all on Klondike bars.

Shane said:

Well, the fact is that private investment HAS been stimulated- billions of dollars worth (Google the 2005 MAPS Impact Study)- and if we keep investing public dollars more and more money will pour into our city. How do you define the point where "enough is enough" when the sky is the limit?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 10, 2009 6:04 PM.

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