Broken Arrow keeps its promise and reduces its sales tax rate

Thursday, March 3rd 2005, 8:54 am
By: News On 6

When it comes to tax news, usually the headline is they're going up, but Broken Arrow is trying to buck that trend one penny, or half-penny, at a time.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims has why folks in Broken Arrow will have a few more pennies in their pockets.

Shopping in Broken Arrow just got a little cheaper. If you take a close look at your receipt, you're paying less sales tax. Shopper Bryan Wallace: "Cool I guess. I didn't notice it though as you can see I got it wadded up." It’s all because a half-penny sales tax earmarked for Northeastern State University just went up in smoke.

City leaders say torching the tax ordinance is fulfilling a commitment made to voters several years ago. Broken Arrow Mayor Richard Carter: "if they would help pay for this basic university campus when that was paid off that sales tax would go away and we wouldn't keep it around and try to use it for something else and we're keeping our promise."

Back in 1999 when the half penny sales tax just started, this was just an empty field. Six years and $16-million later, NSU is thriving. Mayor Carter: "It’s been an outstanding investment for the education of Broken Arrow students and students all over this area."

The gesture has made a believer out of one shopper and voter. And Nancy Foland says she'll remember this the next time a bond issue is on the ballot. "Yeah I would if you think its not going to be never ending then you would be more willing to vote for it if there's a light at the end of the tunnel."

And a promise that the change will return to your pocket. Not only did Broken Arrow get rid of the extra tax, they did it early.

The bonds weren't supposed to retire until 2011, but good sales tax revenue allowed the city to pay off the bonds sooner, saving taxpayers about $1-million in interest.