Students Debate River Tax Plan
The river is often mentioned as vital for the future of younger generations. On Wednesday, the younger generation took a crack at the river issue during Tulsa Community College's Global Debate series. The News On 6's Steve Berg reports the series helps teach students about different issues, like the river project, but it also helps them learn the art of debating itself.
Professors at Tulsa Community College say they try to pick high-profile current events for their debates, and there's little debate that they have one with the river.
A large crowd was on hand Wednesday afternoon to hear from Victor Muse on the affirmative side and Edwin Estrada with the opposing view. Muse argued that more consistent river flows would benefit the river environmentally and spur development that would benefit the area economically.
"Well the most important part is that something needs to be done about the river," said river plan supporter Victor Muse. "I mean, it's miles of wasted land, and it looks terrible, so it's time to do something about it."
Estrada meanwhile argued that the changes would have a detrimental impact on existing wildlife habitats, and says the tax is too high a price for residents to pay at this point in time.
"I believe my third point, economics, is probably the one I was trying to hit home the most. Just that by adding another half-cent we will be a higher sales tax than most every other city in the United State of America," said Edwin Estrada, river plan opponent.
Their professor says she was impressed with both students' performance. She says she gives the edge to Estrada and his opposing debate by virtue of his technique. But on the topic itself, she says she's still leaning in favor of the river project.
"Commissioner Miller just really almost sold me on that vote, so I think I have my mind made up now. It was very interesting," TCC professor Donna Goodwin said.
Now she says she will see if it swayed anyone else's opinion.
"My particular speech class that I have, they definitely had some ideas, so it will be interesting to go back to class and ask, did you change your mind any," said Goodwin.
Historically, younger voters do not have the best turnout. But as we mentioned, there was a large crowd on hand for the debate, and they asked a lot of questions and appeared very interested.