Critics Say Watch Your Wallet Over Arkansas River Plans

Wednesday, September 6th 2006, 10:25 am
By: News On 6

The plan for the Channels project is to get at least 6 tax dollars for every 1 dollar of private money.

There is already some opposition to a new tax to build the project - especially since the Vision plan didn't focus on the Arkansas River as much as some wanted.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says at the news conference Wednesday morning few openly had any doubts about the Channels project. No one questioned the merits of investing $600-million worth of taxes into another Vision plan, just for part of the river.

Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller: "well the Vision plan was a good start but now you need to finish it which is river development."

The Tulsa County commissioners fully expect a request for tax money soon. That's what
bothers Dan Hicks. "They want to raise your taxes, and Tulsa needs to wake up, they're coming for your wallet, they want your tax money."

Hicks is the man behind the “No River Tax” signs. He's on what is now a one-man mission to stop the river tax. "We need to fix our streets and fight crime and fix our failing schools and if we do this, it will bring the economic growth which is what produces jobs."

While some of the promises of this project are familiar this time it's going to be different they say when it comes to the prospect of huge overruns. They say the project will cost what they say it will because they've consulted with some of the best people in world. The best minds also said the arena would come in on budget but it's way over.

Hicks and some others believe a small island in the river, reserved mostly for private owners, won't do anything for most of Tulsa. TU student Dan Webber: "it's an island mentality, this isn't going to spread to the rest of Tulsa, it's going to be centralized in one location."

The backers claim the Channels project will create jobs and bring new people to town. But first, the people already here will be asked to pay for it.