We are a week away from the Tulsa Vision tax vote, and some critics claim Tulsa's economy needs a tax break more than a tax extension.
Citizens for a Better Vision want the plan voted down and a new one put on the ballot in the fall.
Their catchy slogan, “No more ‘dam’ taxes,” references money for the river but they're not fully behind any of the proposals, but they focus on the ones labeled economic development.
Some north Tulsans joined the coalition opposed to the vision plan which they said doesn't reflect what they want and won't do what's needed.
“The councilors, the mayor, they did not listen to us. This needs to be voted down, they need to come to the citizens and hear what we have to say,” Tracie Chandler said.
The group is focused on money for the river, which they believe could be better spent on projects to bring business to north Tulsa.
Sherry Laskey said, “We have to vote no on this economic development component because it's not serving our community.”
City Councilor Jack Henderson said that's not correct; that through the development of a large business park, north Tulsa will be ready for a major employer.
But his political opponents say that project was pushed ahead of their desires.
“It was presented to the community as this is what's going to be on the list, take it or leave it,” Vanessa Hall-Harper said.
The group said after all the years of Vision 2025 they haven't seen much change in north Tulsa.
“There are three more election dates between now and December 31st. There's plenty of time for the city council to take the garbage, and the nails, and the poison and the junk out and give us a package that does address economic development,” Michael Bates said.
Those folks opposed to the Vision tax also worry that if this Vision sales tax is approved - and the Penny for Education is approved, it would bump up our sales tax to 9.5 percent. It's not the highest in the country but would be one of the highest.
In a statement in response to the group, Chair of the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Jeff Dunn, said:
“We cannot afford to sit idly and let other cities pass us by. Our citizens need and deserve a city that addresses important needs and invests in future growth. Tulsans deserve a community focused on public safety, safer streets, job opportunities and a quality education system for our children. Vision Tulsa is a balanced plan that addresses those key needs, without raising taxes.
“It’s no secret that Tulsa faces economic challenges — but this isn’t the first time we have responded to difficulties with strength, resolve and a determination to shape our future. 2003 was a time of great adversity. But then, as now, Tulsans stood up and decided to invest in ourselves and our success. Just as we did in 2003, we must come together to strengthen our community. The economic and job growth from Vision 2025 is proof of what we're capable of. Vision Tulsa is that next step, and we hope our city will again stand up and vote yes on April 5th.”