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KOTV - 9/19/2007 5:00 PM - Updated 9/20/2007 6:05 AM

City Takes Stand Against River Tax

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A group representing Tulsa's largest suburb takes a stand against the Arkansas River tax. A resolution opposing the tax was approved Wednesday by the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. This vote by the Chamber Board represents just one piece of a larger opposition to the tax in Broken Arrow, where resolutions against it were passed by the school board and city council. The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports only the chamber's resolution directly states the opposition, but the other two say the tax will do nothing for Broken Arrow.

Mickey Thompson says the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors didn't come to the decision without some hesitation.

"In the end, we just couldn't at the expense of our needs, see our way clear to support this tax, and we're not proud of it, or boastful, but felt like it was something we had to do," said Mickey Thompson with the Broken Arrow Chamber.

Thompson says Broken Arrow must reserve the extra tax that would go to the river for future, but unspecified needs in Broken Arrow.

"We are not opposing it because we are opposed to the project, but over the next seven to ten years we have our own more critical needs for tax dollars to invest in our own community," Thompson said.

The vote was by the board of the chamber, not the membership, and there are differing opinions among the members.

Scott Miller is a Broken Arrow resident and Tulsa business owner, who believes developing the river benefits both towns.

"I don't think the sales tax is that much and I think for the small cost of the extra sales tax, it would benefit Broken Arrow," he said.

This new opposition to the river project comes with all but the endorsement of the Broken Arrow School board and the Broken Arrow City Council, which have identical resolutions urging people to vote and spelling out all of the reasons to vote no.

The resolution passed by the city council and the school board is interesting reading that says Broken Arrow's residents, government, schools and businesses will get no benefit from developing the river. We talked with several Broken Arrow business owners Wednesday who strongly disagree with that assessment, and who are encouraging their employees to vote for it.

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