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!”


  1. Well I think the tax breakdown is a little misleading but I think you make some good points. I do believe that a new Maps would be good but I'm not that crazy about a couple of the projects in this proposal. You sound as if you think the first one wasn't a good idea. I thinks it was well worth it and it is the reason that downtown is a real downtown again instead of plywood ghosttown.

  2. Maybe it is my ignorance, but I read the article about the Downtown Airpark, and the owners were belly up in debt. They got lucky and got a great piece of land for a great deal.

    I understand the frustration that some must feel that Mr. Humphreys is able to go on a vacation to Hawaii, but Mr. Humphreys is also a very generous man. He is a huge donor for many organizations. He invests in his community along with making a profit. What is wrong with that?

  3. Whatever I may think of the man (it's not good), don't be so quick to assume that a trip to Hawaii is all that extravagant (his may be). We just took a couples trip to a VERY nice hotel in Hawaii (that had hardly any guests due to the economic downturn) for LESS than the vacation we had planned to Washington state originally. The deals are good to Hawaii, if you ever wanted to go, go when it is cheaper.
    Would you have given ol' Kirk a hard time for taking a trip to Washington state? Hawii just sound more expensive (even if it may not always be the case).

  4. You guys in okc got taken to the cleaners the media blitz prior to the election was proof
    if you blast it down there throats enough times the citizens will believe it.Just ask
    how much of the tax payers cash they used
    for the campain i bet they wont give you a honest answer.also ask about the 2% cuts to city services. Its so sad you guys have your head in the sand.

  5. Let's see, within 6 weeks after telling the community that they will be hirering firefighters and police, I've heard that NO new positions would be filled, and to expect a pay cut and some layoffs. Oklahoma City residents have been lied to, and why don't we put up bilboards with the lies they have already shown, and let the people know who is really benifiting from the maps3 projects.