Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Untold Story of the New Maps Tax

The new Maps Tax is a tax by the rich OKC Elite on the working people who make this city run. The Elite plan to build their Downtown Disneyland on the backs of the taxpayers. The Elite certainly don't want to pay the same proportion of their income that they want to force on everyone else. They're also not talking about the new taxes that will be forced on us to build a new $400 million County Jail. (More below on the jail.)

Consider this: Everyone knows that the sales tax is the most regressive tax there is. In OKC that works out to 8.375% on every dollar spent on all goods people buy. That's $83.75 on every $1,000 you spend on food, clothing and other necessities. The new Maps Tax works out to about $10 a month on every resident of OKC. That's every man, woman and child. $40 a month for a family of four.

The sales tax is regressive because it takes a larger proportional share income from lower earners than higher income earners. Simply put, the poor and middle class pay more proportionally than the rich. A new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows how it works in Oklahoma:
  • The lowest earning 60% of all income groups pay 6.6% of their income in sales and excise taxes. That's folks earning less than $48,000 a year.
  • The top 5% of earners pay less than 2% of their income. Those folks earn $165,000+  a year!
The truth is, most all the leaders pushing for a new Maps Tax are in that top 5% income bracket, and most of those are in the top 1% earning more than $412,000 a year. Those folks will pay less than 1% of their income in sales taxes!

OKC's Elite want the taxpayers to fund their schemes and dreams for Downtown Disneyland. These same people hustled the “Maps for Millionaires” NBA tax for $120 million to subsidize bringing the Thunder to OKC.  Every resident of OKC will have paid about $150 so that the Thunder ownership group did not have to fork out the money themselves. That's $600 for a family of four. (Ironically, many Maps3 supporters are giving away Thunder tickets as bribes to pay their employees to canvass their neighborhoods for the election!)

Maps3 is nothing more than a huge subsidy for downtown merchants, property developers and their cronies. (This is all at the expense of the rest of the city's businesses, property developments and citizens who are not downtown.) If most all the local media were not in on the deal or bought off by their cut of the $2 million ad campaign, investigative reporters could go wild connecting the dots between downtown businesses, property developers, land speculators, architectural and construction firms, the City Council, Ackerman-McQueen advertising agency and clients, and much more.

Since we don't have those investigative reporters, we the people of Oklahoma City, have to ignore the slick propaganda and rely on commonsense. Despite the propaganda, we can't tax and spend our way out of a Depression. We have to act by turning out our friends, family and neighbors to vote this monstrous proposal down on Tuesday, December 8.

New Taxes Will Be Imposed Soon to Build a New County Jail

That's right, folks. Word is out that the Oklahoma County Commissioners are waiting until after the new Maps Tax vote to start their campaign for a new tax to build a new county jail for $400 million. Then we'll see a “full court press” for a new tax. The US Justice Department has told them that they will force us to build a new jail with an involuntary tax on Oklahoma County citizens if we don't choose to voluntarily tax ourselves.

Let's see. Obama wants new taxes for our “carbon footprints” and for national health insurance. The OKC Elite want to tax us for Downtown Disneyland to subsidize their downtown businesses and property developments. And soon we'll have a new $400 million tax to replace our white elephant city jail? Ever wonder how those Egyptian slaves felt dragging the stones for Pharaoh's pyramids?

Postscript 1
Recently I was talking with a local bank president, one of the top 1%. He said that working stiffs would only have to forgo “the price of a movie ticket” or “two Starbucks lattes” a month to pay their Maps Tax.

The next night I took my wife for a rare night out to dinner for our 33rd wedding anniversary. I asked our waiter if an extra $10 a month would make a difference to him, his wife and 10-year old twin boys. He said “$5 would make a big difference. But if I had $10 extra, I could buy two more spaghetti meals with sauce, ground beef and pasta.”

The OKC Elite are simply out of touch with the masses of the citizens in these very tough economic times. They really don't have a clue what it is like for those who don't have hefty six and seven-figure incomes. Wasn't Marie Antoinette the one who said “Let them eat cake” in response to the peasants' concerns about the lavish spending of the French monarchy? Marie lost her head as a result. That was quite a Tea Party the French had.

Most of these Maps supporters would call themselves "good Christians." If so, you tell me what is compassionate and Christian about putting an unfair tax on people less fortunate than themselves to fund their dreams and schemes for a Downtown Disneyland?

Postscript 2
Friday I taped Flash Point to run at 9:30 am on KFOR. Typical of the whole lurid affair, it was 3 against 1 with me going up against Maps Tax supporters Kirk Humphreys, Ron Norick and Mike Turpen. Kevin Ogle, by the way, seems to be a prince of a guy and was a very professional and an honest broker.

When finished, ex-Mayor Humphreys who is co-treasurer of the MapsYes campaign, announced he  was off to Hawaii for a week. When YOU, dear reader, take your trip to Hawaii next week, if you bump into Kirk drinking Mai Tais on the beach, please tell him how much you appreciate his efforts to tax the rest of us to fund Downtown Disneyland.

You might also ask him whether he thinks that his Downtown Airpark purchase for $7.2 million will appreciate in value as the Core to Shore projects beginning with Maps3 are implemented. Pay special attention to the report that they might “divert the Oklahoma River" to “establish shoreline” on Humphreys' land. Hmm. Doesn't Maps3 talk about making “river front improvements?" Is it just me, or does this smell “fishy.” (I don't mean the ecoli-infested river!)

My friends, the familiar adage about thinking globally and acting locally could not be more relevant than it is now in Oklahoma City. Simply put: we need to put our collective feet down and send a resounding message to arrogant, over-reaching government at all levels:

“We've had enough! You've used up your good will and exhausted our patience. No more! Do your job and do it efficiently. And if it is not one of the basic functions of government to protect God-given rights to life, liberty and property with police, courts and defense, stop it! Now!! Remember Marie Antoinette. That's why my friends, neighbors and I are voting NO December 8 to drive a stake through the heart of this new Maps Tax!”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The OKC Elite Prepare to Go on the Attack

This is according to Mark Shannon, courageous talk show host on KTOK - AM 1000 who is risking his job taking on the OKC Elite daily on his radio show. And kudos to Clear Channel Communications and his sponsors for resisting the pressure. Check his blog daily for incisive updates.

Get Ready For The Super Hype 11/25/09
My sources tell me that Aubrey McClendon, Clay Bennett, David Thompson, Roy Williams and others of Oklahoma City's "elite and effete" gathered at the Chamber and are ready to turn up the hype on MAPS 3, because their polling is clearly telling them.....MAPS 3 is failing.
It's not that people might not like to see some of these unnecessary luxury upgrades made to the city, but it's not the right time to make a 7 year 800 million commitment when it's clear the city doesn't have enough to pay for what we have now.
Jim Couch, City Manager, during this week's City Council meeting said, "We're going to have to come back in December and make some adjustments to the city's budget," because of the drastic drop-off in sales tax collections.
Let me interpret that:   Jobs are going to be lost, services are going to be cut, and/or both.
With the "happy, happy" face of Mick Cornett all over TV telling everyone how WONDERFUL everything is, they're not going to make any negative announcements before the election.
The UPGRADE IN HYPE will reportedly be the what you'd call "going negative."  They likely will attack anyone who speaks against MAPS.  They've already tried to muzzle me by leaning on our sponsors, but talk radio sponsors don't fold to someone who is trying to shut down free speech.

Questions That Need Answers

  1. Why are the OKC Elite are in such a hurry to pass a new Maps Tax? 
  2. Is there some emergency we don't know about?
  3. Why don't we have time to debate the issues thoroughly in public forums? 
  4. Don't we have time to take a breath and really study the issues?
  5. Why won't the Mayor allow citizens to voice their concerns about the new Maps Tax during the citizen input portion of the City Council meetings? What is he afraid of?
  6. Is it possible that the $80-90 million that would be left in taxpayers' pockets might be better spent by them, for their needs, as we are sliding deeper into economic Depression?
  7. If any of the projects are good today, won't they still be good in a year or two when the timing might be better?
  8. Why are the OKC Elite spending almost a Million Dollars on a slick ad campaign, but won't schedule any debates? 
  9. What did City Manager Couch mean in the Nov. 24 Council Meeting when he said that there were budget issues that needed to be discussed right after the Maps Tax vote so they could re-adjust the budget? Is there more economic bad news that means more layoffs of city workers and cutbacks in city services? (Remember: they've already announced an across-the-board spending cut starting January 1st.)
  10. If we have economic bad news that he knows about, aren't the Mayor and Council in dereliction of their duty by not telling us now? Shouldn't they consider postponing or canceling the election?
  11. Is spending $25 million a mile for a downtown streetcar system the most important thing we can do to improve public transit for the entire city?
  12. Should the city be building a $25 million whitewater rafting and kayaking attraction when it is obviously not a profitable economic investment? (If it was, then entrepreneurs would be making a proposal to the City.)
  13. Should the City be competing with private fitness centers and the Y's by building $50 million worth of "senior citizen aquatic centers?" (They supported Bass Pro Shops at the expense of private enterprise sporting goods stores that didn't get a subsidy.)
  14. Doesn't adding "senior citizen aquatic centers" to the new Maps Tax dream list appear to be a transparent attempt to solicit senior citizens' votes for their pig in a poke?
  15. Does smearing lipstick in the form of the "Maps" brand on this pig's list of projects make them more economically feasible?
  16. Does the apparent success of Maps1 (we can see the pretty buildings, river and canal) mean that every Maps project will be equally successful?
  17. Did building all those new public school buildings with Maps2 make any significant improvement in educational results?
  18. How specifically have Oklahoma City taxpayers benefited from the $121 welfare payment made to the millionaire Thunder ownership group? What about the subsidy from subsidy from the State Legislature?
  19. How trustworthy are the projections to raise $777 million ($100 million a year) when the highest ever sales tax collection for one penny was $92.5 million?
  20. How will OKC charities minister to the needs of the poor and homeless if they are displaced by a new park? (City Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, Jesus House, etc.)
  21. What is the City's plan to get the extra 200 police and 50 firefighters that studies show we need?
  22. How does the City plan to pay for the new $300 million jail that apparently the Feds will require we build to replace our current mess?
  23. What property do current and past Councilmen and Mayors own in and within a 1-2 mile radius of Maps projects and the proposed Core To Shore development? (An investigators out there want to look up the land records?)
  24. What property do major backers of the Maps3 project own in and within a 1-2 mile radius of the Maps projects?
  25. If any current Councilmen have properties in No. 23 above, wouldn't that be clearly a conflict of interest and they shouldn't vote to approve the project?
 Send your questions to, and we'll add it to the list!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An Offer We CAN Refuse

The Fred Jones heirs announced on November 17 that they have entered into an agreement with the OCU Law School to move the school into their historic building at 900. W. Main. The Jones family would retain ownership of the building formerly owned by Henry Ford to manufacture Model Ts, but would lease it to OCU.

Before we all pop corks to celebrate what a boon to downtown development this move supposedly will be, we must realize that they announced a "big IF" before the deed is done. To wit, voters must pass the Maps3 tax for downtown property developers first.

You see, the only way this idea makes any sense to Dean McDaniel is "IF" we have a $130 million street car system operating. Supposedly that is the only way that poor old law students can get around downtown, at least from 9th and Classen. They might even have to walk a half a mile to get to the Courthouse and County law library. I assume that the free sidewalks that already exist won't be good enough to help these students get some fresh air and exercise.

Every university I went to (4), walking a half a mile to class was nothing. We did it all the time. I guess things change if you're downtown. OCU is so small that maybe a quarter of a mile seems like a real hike.

You can see from this map of the proposed streetcar route, that they'd at least have to walk a block and a half to a trolley stop. Remember, those streetcars are projected to cost more than $22 million a mile to construct! Ten years ago the original Maps project put 9 trolleys into service for a measly $5 million. That's over half a million bucks per copy. Bet it would cost a lot less than that to add even a dedicated trolley to take law students wherever they want to go.

Will this generous offer with a hook work on OKC voters? Don't know. They were gullible enough to let Maps for Millionaires tax them for $120 million a few years ago to subsidize the OKC Thunder. Maybe OKC taxpayers have given up trying to fight the OKC Elite. Or maybe they haven't.