Vision2 Opponents, Supporters Look To Move On

Wednesday, November 7th 2012, 5:47 pm
By: News On 6

What's next now that Vision2 has been voted down?

The plan would have raised more than $700 million for Tulsa County and surrounding cities.

But voters soundly defeated both propositions of the sales tax extension last night.

11/7/2012 Related Story: Both Vision2 Sales Tax Propositions Fail With Tulsa County Voters

Voters first heard of Vision2 in August, and opponents accused the people who pushed it along of moving too fast.

Supporters say those Vision2 projects still need to be done, if they can just find a way to pay for it.

The mood inside the "Yes On Vision2" watch party quickly turned sour Tuesday night.

"Obviously disappointed," Don Walker said.

Across town, Vision2 opponents were celebrating.

"It showed that the citizens of Tulsa County aren't as ignorant as they think that they are," opponent Rhonda said.

Vision2 would have extended the Vision 2025 sales tax and helped to fund dozens of projects across Tulsa County – a new juvenile justice center, and improvements to the levees that surround the Arkansas River in Sand Springs.

"I think we missed a great opportunity last night but, again, the voters have spoken and we're going to move forward," Tulsa County Commissioner John Smaligo said.

Smaligo said the economic development projects in Vision2, like improvements to the American Airlines base in Tulsa, would have gone a long way to secure jobs for the region.

He adds the need for those facilities to be updated will not go away.

"There certainly haven't been any discussions that occurred over the last 24 hours but, yes, we are absolutely committed to doing everything we can to try to keep those jobs at the airport," Smaligo said.

Critics of Vision2 have always said they wish its organizers would have taken more time to get public input. If another version of Vision2 moves ahead supporters say that's definitely something they'll consider.

"I certainly have no problem with that whatsoever," Smaligo said. "We felt there was an urgent need to address the infrastructure at the airport and that was a major driver for us getting this down as quickly as we can."

Vision2 opponents have never doubted the need for county-wide improvements but hope that whatever happens next, area leaders have learned their lesson.

"Don't try and rush this stuff on us and don't and don't bring it to us four years ahead of time, either," Rhonda said.