Thursday, December 4, 2008

FAIL: They're At It Again

Cleveland County is trying to screw us over again.

A short while ago, Norman City Council took a section of the city and exempted it from property taxes, the idea being that it would encourage retailers to come there and generate a bunch of sales tax revenue for the city. Which sounds great. I'm all about exempting as many people and places from taxes as possible. And, so far, the plan seems to be working. Retailers moved into the area and are doing well.

But of course, we've hit a snag. Cleveland County wants a new jail. And they are supposed to use Norman property taxes to pay for that jail. And now they don't quite have the income they are used to and were expecting to put toward said jail.

The answer? Raise county sales tax!

This means that those of us who live in Moore and Oklahoma City and every other city that is in Cleveland County will get our sales taxes raised to pay for Norman's jail.

I know what you're going to say, that it's a county jail and we live in Cleveland County so it's only fair that we be taxed, too.

No. This was the Norman City Council's doing, and now they are trying to make Moore, SOKC, Noble, Box, Clothier, Corbett, Denver, Slaughterville, Little Axe, Maguire, McKiddyville, Hall Park, Etowah, Franklin, Lexington, Needmore, Spring Hill, Stella and Willow View city residents pay Norman's sales tax for Norman's jail the way we are having to pay for Norman's library and Norman's roads.

And you Norman city residents shouldn't be too excited about this, either. This is your city council that screwed this all up, and now they are literally passing the buck to you, as usual. Haven't you had enough of these guys?

This is the Norman City Council's fault. Let them fix it without penalizing the rest of us.

The vote to increase the sales tax is this Tuesday! Of course, the sneaky little creeps haven't exactly advertised it.

So, already this year, we in SOKC have had to pay extra sales tax for the Maps for Millionaires so Clay Bennet has something to do on Friday nights. And we got extra sales taxes for the transaction between Tinker AFB and GM (there's your bailout, already). We also got our property taxed raised in the summer to go towards Norman's library. Now they are trying to make us pay even higher sales tax for the jail in Norman.

Don't let them get away with it. Vote no.
By the way, I wouldn't have even heard about this if it weren't for Rep. Mike Reynolds. He's the reason you are hearing about it and are aware that you have the opportunity to vote 'No.' Just FYI.
UPDATE: There's been some confusion as to the nature of the city/county property tax. Let me try and clear this up. The entire county's property taxes were to be put toward the jail without the creation of a new tax. But because Norman made certain areas property tax exempt, they can't pony up their share of the building fund, so they want to increase sales tax throughout the county to make up the difference.

I will also add, we need to be concerned about the fact that this tax is being used to fund a one-time project - building a building - and that the tax will continue once the intended use for it is past, or after the building is built. It's not like once the jail is completed they're going to say, okay, finished that one, we can lower your sales tax back. Remember the Ford Center.
Here is an image of the ballot. Note the stated yet still oddly vague supposed time-limit on the tax. (Click the image for larger view).

Also, they want to increase the sales tax a full percentage! That would make Cleveland County sales tax over 9%, making it the highest in the Central OK area. That'll be great for the economy.

The measure passed 63%-37%. That's still 36.5% more than I expected. At least we tried. We'll get 'em next time.


mary said...

The tax increase for the library you mentioned covers all the libraries in Cleveland County including Moore, Norman, and Noble and all the little information stations in Little Axe and various tiny towns--not just Norman. We've been using the money to purchase new books, computers, equipment, etc for all the Cleveland County libraries. The Moore library is the closest library for many SWOKC residents so theoretically you are benefiting from this increase if you visit Moore. Also, there is no new Norman library since residents voted it down in May. We were going to do a new vote but are not anymore because of the economic downturn. The new plan would have put in a new downtown library and two small branches (one out east of Norman and the other way out in northwest Cleveland county). In addition, the Pioneer and Metropolitan library systems will be sharing a new library in SWOKC since it is in Oklahoma City limits but is located in Cleveland County--again, you will benefit from any Cleveland County taxes going towards that. I have a feeling the OK county residents might think you are unfairly benefiting from using their services, too. Who knows.

JG said...

I understand what you're saying, but the issue is that this budget shortage was caused by the City of Norman, not Cleveland County. That's what matters here. The only reason this tax is even being proposed is because of Norman City Council's mismanagement. I don't think everyone in Cleveland County (or everyone who shops in Cleveland County, which would extend to people beyond Cleveland County) should be punished for something that Norman did. And, to be honest, I'm just against taxes altogether. Considering I've had my property taxes raised twice this year and my sales tax once already, you may understand that I and many others are less than enthusiastic to pay another extra tax to cover Norman City Council's collective behind.