The Norman Transcript

Editorials

November 26, 2013

Making the case for keeping sales tax

NORMAN — Norman voters approved a temporary, half-percent sales tax in 2008 with the intent of hiring 41 additional police officers and 30 firefighters. It also was to fund new fire stations in east and west Norman and needed firefighting equipment.

That tax will expire in September 2015 unless the city council authorizes a new election and voters say yes. The tax is different from the half-cent collected county-wide that will be collected until the debt is paid off on the F. DeWayne Beggs Detention Center.

The city’s sales tax issue will likely be debated at length by the council and members of the PSST citizen oversight committee. The argument will be made that the passage of the “temporary” tax increase in 2008 came with hopes that the city’s sales tax base would have grown enough by 2015 that the general revenue stream could support the new positions.

We’d like to see a breakdown of the city’s sales tax growth since 2008, noting the additional retail along University North Park and in other pockets of the city. The recession took some steam out of the 2008 forecast, but revenues appear to have rebounded some.

Most of the police and fire hires have been made. At least one council member has raised the issue of paying for permanent positions with temporary tax revenue.

Norman police and fire will make the case over the next few months that they need to continue the tax for salaries, equipment, a new radio system and relocation of Fire Station No. 5.

Voters have supported sales tax increases, utility hikes and bond issues when they know specificially how the additional money will be used. The recent passage of the sewer rate increase is a textbook example of presenting the information to voters and letting them decide.

Mayor Cindy Rosenthal wants a plan put forth on how any increased funding would be spent. Couple that with a list of all that was done with the 2008 “temporary” tax, and you may be looking at a winning vote.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • State is No. 2 in barbecue

    Americans love the marriage of smoke, fire and meat, but geography plays a part in how strong the passion is. Estately Blog has created a map charting which states are home to the most barbecue enthusiasts. Oklahoma comes in at No. 2 in ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Keep guns off campus

    Some Oklahoma lawmakers just won’t let the issue of allowing handguns on campus to go away. A joint legislative study will take a look at campuses around the nation to see if there is a way to accommodate faculty, staff and students who ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Improving children’s lives

    Social service organizations that have long-term debt for their headquarters and operating needs often spend much of their fundraising efforts meeting those obligations....

    July 29, 2014

  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 2014

  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014

  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014