Vision2 imponderables

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By the way, I'm speaking at the Tulsa Republican Club luncheon today about Vision2. It's at the Summit Club, 30th floor of the Bank of America Building, 15 W. 16th St. Buffet lunch ($20) served starting at 11:30, program begins at 12 noon. You can join the club for $25 annual dues.

American Airlines is outsourcing its Boeing 777 maintenance to Hong Kong. They're bringing the 767 maintenance to Tulsa. Boeing will maintain AA's new 737s and 787s, and another US company will maintain the 757s.

About these Wichita Industrial Revenue Bonds: They're loans that the benefiting business has to pay back, not grants paid by sales tax or property tax revenue. The business gets cheaper money, because earnings on municipal bonds are tax-exempt.

The issuer is a passive conduit whose role is essentially to lend its status as a municipal corporation to the transaction - no obligation to pay bondholders; no credit enhancement.

It's structured differently, but Tulsa County Industrial Authority (a trust with the three county commissioners as trustees) does the same sort of thing; they call it conduit debt. I'm still learning about IRBs, but it appears that Kansas laws also allow cities to grant IRB recipients certain tax exemptions as well. But no, Wichita is not using sales tax revenues to purchase equipment for a major employer as Tulsa County wants to do. It's just that the Wichita Eagle reports on these deals, while the Tulsa World ignores them, for the most part.

(Bob Weeks of can tell you all you might want to know about Wichita's various economic development incentives and their frequent abuse.)

If the Tulsa World insists on referring to Tea Party organizer and Citizens for a Better Vision leader Ronda Vuillemont-Smith as a failed candidate for office, shouldn't the World always put "part owner and promoter of a failed airline" on the masthead after its own name? Why should anyone listen to the economic development advice of anyone who thought taxpayer funding for Great Plains Airlines was a good idea?

And regarding the City of Tulsa's hastily assembled Vision2 list:

Did you know that the City of Tulsa's list of Vision2 projects could change?

The following public projects may be assigned the following sums....

Our family loves our local library system. I'm happy they have a recession-proof funding source. But the Tulsa City-County Library has over $24 million in an investment fund (as of July 31, 2012), and half of that amount is "designated for the Central Library project, the remainder for building systems replacements." The Tulsa Library has a dedicated property tax that brought in $26,070,310.69 during Fiscal Year 2011-2012. Thanks to the 5% valuation escalator, taxable values are still climbing despite a downturn in market values, so library revenues are doing well, too. So why is the City of Tulsa planning to give the library system another $10 million out of our precious and limited city sales tax dollars? Just so they know we love them?

In 2005, Tulsa citizens approved a general obligation bond issue (funded by property tax) which included $18 million for a new Fire Department regional training facility (see p. 6-4), to be located on the North Campus of TCC. "The College, who will be a joint operator of the facility, will provide area Fire Departments training related to fire fighting, hazardous incident response, emergency life support and security incident response." TCC also has a dedicated and ample source of property tax revenue. So why did the City Council vote to allocate another $7 million of precious and limited city sales tax funds for a project we already paid for back in 2005?

Will the identical $4.3 million each for the OU/TU Medical School, OSU-Tulsa, and Langston U. actually be sufficient to pay for a project to be completed, or are these just little gratuities to let each of them know we really, really, really appreciate them? Should ORU feel offended for being left out?

Is it just me or are there several Vision2 items that resemble buying a spoiled child a present so he won't pitch a fit at his sister's birthday party?

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Bob said:

Good coverage of Michael Bates addressing the Tulsa Republican Club re: Vision2, found in Saturday's Lorton's World newspaper.

Bob said:

Funny, isn't it, how Stop Vision2 coverage is consigned to Page A-18 of the Lorton's World, but pro-Vote Yes Vision2 coverage always seems to be plastered on the front page of the Daily Disappointment?

Bias, possibly?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 19, 2012 2:59 AM.

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