TULSA, Okla. - Quick facts:
- Citizens for a Better Vision opposes the extension of Vision 2025.
- They said they do not want more taxes.
- Vision Tulsa offered a response to the group's claims.
One local group is pushing to get voters to say no to Vision 2025 on April 5th.
Citizens for a Better Vision held a news conference Tuesday.
They said they do not want more taxes, though Vision supporters said the April 5th vote would just extend a tax voters have already approved.
Fifteen people came out to the conference. Some held signs, some spoke out and one woman laid down.
She said if Tulsans accept Vision 2025 as it is, they are telling officials to “walk” on them.
All those supporting Citizens for a Better Vision said they had one issue or another with the proposed tax extension.
Vision Tulsa offered a response to Citizens for a Better Vision's claims:
1. Citizens for a Better Vision claim: “In this time of dramatic state & local economic decline, taxpayers do not need a new sales tax that coupled with OU President Boren's proposed 1-cent sales tax for Education, would position Oklahoma as #1 in State Sales Tax rate in the entire U.S., with Glenpool's tax at 10.9% if approved!”
Vision Tulsa response: Any claim that Vision Tulsa represents a new tax is absolutely false. Vision Tulsa extends an existing sales tax, meaning that Tulsans have the opportunity to vote for a proposal on April 5 that addresses our core public safety and streets maintenance needs and invest in projects that will create jobs and economic development – all without raising taxes.
2. Citizens for a Better Vision claim: “The City of Tulsa's latest Tax-and-Spend scheme recites a “Dirty Dozen” listing of capital spending projects that are NOT the responsibility of the City of Tulsa, such as OSU-Tulsa, TCC, TPS, BMX, Langston et al. The city and state's weak economic condition has necessitated a HIRING FREEZE at the City of Tulsa. That is neither the sign of a healthy city nor a healthy local economy.”
Vision Tulsa response: Vision 2025 has been a tremendous success – one that Tulsans are proud of, and an example of the impact these proposals can have on our community.
We’ve seen the cranes in the air. We’ve seen the new jobs created. We’ve seen the BOK Center break records and exceed expectations. As of January 2016, Vision 2025 has generated sales tax receipts exceeding $667 million, and sparked more than $1 billion in private investment in downtown alone. Anyone who claims Vision 2025 has not benefited Tulsa is arguing against obvious facts and demonstrated results.
On April 5, Tulsans have an opportunity to continue making our community safer, stronger and better by voting yes for Vision Tulsa. The projects were identified after years of public comment and input to continue this wave of success, and continue Tulsa’s growth. At a time when our economy is struggling, it would be irresponsible not to invest in projects that will strengthen our local economy, create jobs for Tulsans, support our teachers and schools, and generate sales tax revenue that funds Tulsa’s core responsibilities.
3. Citizens for a Better Vision claim: “Tulsa taxpayers do not need a new Low-Water Dam. Our low-water dam still works, but has been intentionally ill-maintained. The proposed VisionForever Tax has NO CAP, and no guarantees against chronic cost-overruns. Tulsans will pay at least 80% of the construction cost of the Jenks Dam. Jenks dam will destroy vital habitat of the Endangered Least Tern, and inundate the feeding grounds of the Federally Protected American Bald Eagle.”
Vision Tulsa response: The River Infrastructure Task Force included nationally-renowned experts at all levels – all of whom identified the current Zink Dam as broken, dysfunctional, and dangerous. When it was put in place, maintenance wasn’t considered – which is a key piece corrected in Vision Tulsa, with the creation of an endowment fund for ongoing operations and maintenance. The proposal is a balanced one, preserving parkland and trails that Tulsans have come to love while providing for strategic economic growth and broader community benefits along the full river corridor. The issues of flood concerns and environmental approval are ones that have been exhaustively researched – and resolved – over the past two and a half years. In fact, passing Vision Tulsa to repair Tulsa’s broken levee system is one of the greatest steps we can take in protecting Tulsans from the risk of a flood.
4. Citizens for a Better Vision claim: “Tulsa, Jenks and Glenpool tax proposals contain PERMANENT tax increases. They also contain DEBT provisions to shackle taxpayers to $100,000,000's in debt for the next 15 – 20 years. Tulsa does not need 160 more police officers as part of a PERMANENT Public Safety Tax. Serious crime rates have actually fallen by HALF in the last 20 years. Tulsa also has too many firefighters, with over 75% of “fire” runs for EMT purposes, and not to fight only 3 fires per day on average.”
Vision Tulsa response: We know that Tulsa needs – and deserves – more police officers. The nationally-recognized University of Cincinnati’s Center for Criminal Justice Research identified a need for a substantial investment in 160 police officers as a key first step in providing proactive, community policing that best protects all Tulsans. We know we need 160 additional police officers, 65 additional firefighters, streets maintenance crews and game-changing investments in transit. These needs have been studied, and proven; and it would be irresponsible for us to not provide the certainty those investments require by making those investments permanent.
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