Vision2: TulsaNow's better vision
TulsaNow, which has announced its opposition Tulsa County's Vision2 tax scheme, has developed Vision 2029, a detailed example of an alternative, showing one possible scenario of what the City of Tulsa could accomplish if Vision2 is voted down and the City of Tulsa enacts a tax of its own to go into effect when the Vision 2025 tax expires. The Vision 2029 plan spends $511 million of about $558 million that a 13-year, 0.6 cent City of Tulsa sales tax could generate. From the introduction:
We believe the successor to Vision2025 should be better planned, more thought out, and have wider reaching goals. However, it's easy to dismiss those statements as pipe dreams, so we thought it would be easier to show you. We put together a package that would meet the same general funding criteria as Vision2, but ours would only tax the City of Tulsa. This means our example actually collects less than Vision2, but we think it can show how you can do so much more with it....
This is only an example, but we think this is a great way to show how you can do much better than Vision2. Do you want a safer, cleaner, more sustainable city? Then vote NO on Vision2 and tell your City and County leaders you want a Vision for 2029, not a Vision for 2 years from now.
Rather than fund tenant-specific equipment (e.g. an engine test cell for American Airlines), TulsaNow would fund the "majority of the facility improvements requested... but no purchasing of equipment for work that may never be performed in Tulsa." That brings the price tag down from $254 million to $95 million. TulsaNow's Vision2029 still has money for infrastructure to help new job creators, but the fund would be limited to "water, sewer, roads, site cleanup" and would "be controlled by city council following a strict set of guidelines."
TulsaNow's Prop 2 includes almost all of the city's Vision2 wish list, plus much more, including student housing to serve the OSU-Tulsa and Langston campuses, Red Fork Main Street redevelopment, the Art Deco Museum, and bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements.
Vision2 includes money for building new things, but no money to run them and keep them going. TulsaNow would dedicate 0.1 cent of the 0.6 cents for operational costs -- $60 million (about $5 million a year) to make bus service more frequent, $20 million for additional public safety personnel, and $5 million for parks, mowing, and greenspace maintenance.
Personally, I'd prefer a city replacement for Vision 2025 to include much more for basic infrastructure, and I'd hope we wouldn't simply hand out money like candy to the colleges "just because."
But that's not the point of TulsaNow presenting an alternative. TulsaNow is saying that there's something much bigger and much better for Tulsa if we will vote down sloppy, hasty Vision2 on Tuesday, then have a serious and strategic look at our city's needs, leading to a package that nearly every Tulsan can support with enthusiasm. There's time to do this right.
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