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KOTV - 8/22/2007 6:00 PM - Updated 8/22/2007 8:04 PM

Republican Group Against Arkansas River Tax

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The campaign for the river development tax has begun, and a new group opposing it has emerged. The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports a Republican group has come out against the tax, while county leaders are pushing it as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

On Wednesday a larger than usual gathering of the Rotary Club listened to the virtues of developing the river, and why a sales tax should pay for it. Retired executive Keith Bailey and County Commissioner Randi Miller have already given this speech more than a dozen times.

"We're going absolutely every where we can to get the message out," said Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller.

But a Tulsa Republican group isn't buying one of their main selling points, that it takes taxes to encourage development.

"If we can tax the citizens a little more, maybe the economy will turn around this time and we fundamentally disagree with that at the Republican Assembly," State Senator Randy Brogden said.

Some Republicans are angry that an all Republican County Commission voted to put the tax on the ballot, violating a no new taxes philosophy. Commissioner Miller says she doesn't like new taxes, but she says sometimes they are worth it.

"You have to invest sometime to grow, you have to look at the future," Miller said.

A lot of people asked questions about what would happen along the river, but few questioned the nearly $300 million of taxes to pay for it.

"I don't support new taxes, politicians are always coming back at you to get more of your money to spend on their priorities, and they refuse to spend it on the priorities that government should be involved with," said Brogden.

Brogden says he believes any tax to build parks along the river should be a City of Tulsa tax, and he questions whether places like Owasso will gain anything from it.

The river tax vote is October 9th, and Brogden predicts Owasso, which he represents, will vote against it.

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