Vision2 ripoff: Broken Arrow would double money going it alone

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Tulsa isn't the only city that would be a fiscal loser if Vision2 is approved by voters in November. A BatesLine analysis of tax revenues has determined that Tulsa County's second-largest city, Broken Arrow, would receive only half as much money under Vision2 as it would if it implemented the same tax as a city sales tax.

Vision2 consists of two ballot propositions to create a combined 0.6% Tulsa County sales tax for 13 years, going into effect on January 1, 2017, just after the Tulsa County Vision 2025 tax expires. Proposition 1 is for facilities and equipment, mainly for American Airlines, plus a "deal closing fund." Under the Vision2 proposal, the City of Broken Arrow would receive 12.19% of the revenues of the Proposition 2 0.29% county sales tax over 13 years to spend on a list of "quality of life" capital improvements to be approved by the Tulsa County Commission. News stories report this amount as $44.1 million. BatesLine estimates Vision2 would send $40.9 million to Broken Arrow, based on average county sales tax receipts over the 8 years from March 2004 to February 2012.

But what if, instead of Vision2, Broken Arrow voters were to institute a city sales tax of 0.6% over 13 years -- same term, same percentage, same starting date? Based on the last year of Broken Arrow city sales tax receipts, BatesLine estimates that a BA-specific tax would raise $88,362,196.96 that could be used for City of Broken Arrow capital improvements, without any need to get the County Commission's permission. That's twice as much as BA would receive from the Vision2 tax.

Here are the Broken Arrow sales tax receipts from the most recent 12 reports from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. The city sales tax rate throughout the period has been 3%:

Aug-12 $3,338,726.34 3%
Jul-12 $3,055,434.53 3%
Jun-12 $2,709,917.18 3%
May-12 $2,824,542.95 3%
Apr-12 $2,656,149.37 3%
Mar-12 $2,594,508.45 3%
Feb-12 $3,108,913.42 3%
Jan-12 $2,862,828.89 3%
Dec-11 $2,700,081.39 3%
Nov-11 $2,642,006.57 3%
Oct-11 $2,828,791.10 3%
Sep-11 $2,663,560.18 3%

Total for last 12 months: $33,985,460.37
Per penny of sales tax per year: $11,328,486.79
Sales tax per penny per year * 0.6 cents * 13 yrs: $88,362,196.96

Broken Arrow is a growing city and a need to expand and improve basic infrastructure to accommodate that growth. By supporting Vision2, Broken Arrow business and political leaders are cheating Broken Arrow residents out of $44 million in potential improvements. Did they not do the math? Are they being offered something under the table in exchange for their support? There were rumors that Tulsa ceded the Bass Pro Store to BA in exchange for BA's acquiescence on downtown Tulsa as site of the Vision 2025 funded arena. Is that sort of deal in the works for Vision2?

Broken Arrow voters have a compelling reason to defeat the Vision2 tax in November and a compelling reason to replace the City Council and Chamber mis-leaders who have endorsed this bad deal for their city.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 7, 2012 7:23 AM.

Pearl District plan on TMAPC agenda today, September 5, 2012 was the previous entry in this blog.

State Senator: Oklahoma Democratic Party treats blacks like "disposable diapers" is the next entry in this blog.

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