Tulsa City Councilor Argues Voters Should Decide On New Sales Tax

Tuesday, May 25th 2010, 10:25 am
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6 

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa City Councilor Jack Henderson said he's coined the slogan, "It's one cent and it makes sense" to promote a new sales tax that would support the police, fire and parks departments. Henderson wants it on the ballot in November. 

The councilor has pushed for the sales tax before, but now he has taken the additional step of having the legislative paperwork done and he wants the full council to consider it on Thursday. 

"I'd like to move it forward for a vote whether it's going to be up or down," Henderson told the council Tuesday.

5/21/2010  Related Story: Tulsa City Councilor Pushes Public Safety Tax

Several councilors promised they wouldn't approve sending it to voters, arguing it would encourage people to move and shop outside Tulsa. 

The sales tax would be expected to raise $60 million a year, and the proposal calls for the money to be split between the three departments, with 40% for police, 30% for fire and 30% for the parks department. 

"It's about giving the people of this city an opportunity to vote on something, that's all it is," Henderson said. 

Read the language on Jack Henderson's public safety sales tax idea.

Councilor John Eagleton argued the solution to the current budget crisis was not to direct more money into city government.

"The answer is to take the money we're receiving and make it meet our needs," said Eagleton. 

Councilor G.T. Bynum said he would not support sending the tax to the ballot because voters expect the council to sort it out. 

"I's not a problem of us having not enough sales tax, it's a problem of relying too much on a volatile tax" said Bynum. The councilor has supported a rainy day fund that would help stabilize the city's finances. 

Councilor Rick Westcott also spoke against the tax, as did Councilor Roscoe Turner, meaning at least five of the nine councilors do not support the tax. 

City Councilor Bill Christiansen was not present for the meeting.

List of Oklahoma Cities and Towns with Dedicated Public Safety Sales Tax