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Both proposals went down on election night, but voters likely haven't seen the last of Vision2.

What Tulsans Need to Know About Vision2 Before the Big Vote

Background

Vision2 is a measure on the November 2012 ballot in Tulsa County.

The measure extends a .06 cent sales tax increase to fund economic development and public works projects in Tulsa County. Vision2 is expected to generate $748.8 million and is divided into two parts.

Proposition No. 1: Economic Development

Purpose: Improve and modernize the Tulsa International Airport Industrial Complex and create a job-creation fund to pay for infrastructure improvements to attract and keep companies that bring jobs to Tulsa County.

Funding: $386.8 million

Breakdown:

  • $254 million for Tulsa International Airport Industrial Complex
  • $52.9 million job-creation fund
  • $79.9 million bonding costs and interest

Proposition No. 2: County Quality-of-Life Projects

Purpose: Quality-of-live improvements for Tulsa County communities and capital improvement projects for the county.

Funding: $361.9 million

Breakdown:

  • $257.9 million will be divided among 10 cities in Tulsa CountyTulsa $157.92 million

City Breakdown of Proposition 2 Funding

City Estimated Funds Population $ Per person
Tulsa $157,920,000 396,466 $398.32
Broken Arrow $44,100,000 100,073 $440.68
Owasso $14,380,000 29,854 $481.68
Bixby $11,300,000 21,137 $534.61
Sand Springs $10,100,000 19,140 $527.69
Jenks $9,200,000 17,130 $537.07
Glenpool $5,900,000 10,938 $539.40
Collinsville $3,000,000 5,672 $528.91
Skiatook $1,160,000 7,389 $156.99
Sperry $643,894 1,206 $533.91

Source: Tulsa County, U.S. Census Bureau

  • $92 million for improvements to the Juvenile Justice Center, Expo Square, levee,, and various parks, roads and infrastructure upgrades
  • $12 million bonding costs and interest

Context

Vision2 is basically an extension of Tulsa County’s Vision 2025 measure, which voters approved in September 2003. But Vision 2025 doesn’t expire until 2017, so many Tulsans asked: What’s the hurry?

American Airlines: The bankrupt airline has a maintenance and overhaul base inside a City of Tulsa-owned building near the Tulsa International Airport. The base is outdated and needs modernizing, supporters say. If voters don’t approve Proposition 1 of Vision2, those jobs could be poached by another city that’s more eager for aerospace — like Wichita, Kan.

Oklahoma City: Oklahoma City has had a lot of success with MAPS, a series of sales tax increases for public works project throughout the city. The MAPS programs have been credited as providing the framework for a lot of the growth in OKC, which boasts the lowest unemployment of any major city in the United States.

Tulsa’s District 9 city councilman, G.T. Bynum, said OKC’s success with MAPS is a reminder that cities don’t exist in a vacuum.

“There is competition out there for job recruitment, and for citizenry, and for quality of life,” he tells StateImpact.

Proponents

American Airlines, the Tulsa Metro Chamber, most city/county officials, Mayor Dewey Bartlett, and the Tulsa World‘s editorial board are all encouraging a ‘yes’ vote on Vision2 propositions.

Both Vision2 propositions are supported by most city/county officials, according to a Tulsa World survey. And the measure has enjoyed a strong push from the Tulsa Metro Chamber, which is the effort’s single largest donor.

Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett is a big supporter of Vision2.

“The aerospace and manufacturing jobs located at the airport remain the single largest economic driver in our city, and in order to compete for these jobs in the future, we need to update our outdated city-owned facilities,” Bartlett tells the World in support of Proposition 1.

Opponents

Some current and former Tulsa city councilors, Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel, mayoral candidate Bill Christiansen, Michael Bates, Citizens for a Better Vision and TulsaNow are pushing for a ‘no’ vote on Vision2 propositions.

Much of of the vocal opposition to Vision2 has centered on Propisition 1.

The fact that the bulk of the Proposition 1 money would go to modenizing facilities occupied by bankrupt American Airlines has angered many, including prominent Tulsa blogger and political activist Michael Bates, who writes:

We’re being asked to borrow $214 million now in hopes of keeping a company that is bankrupt, that may not emerge from bankruptcy, that has already cut over 1,000 positions in Tulsa and is likely to cut more, that may go out out of business before we begin generating the tax revenue to pay back the loans.

And while most city/county officials support Vision2 in its entirety, four Tulsa city councilors — G.T. Bynum, Jeannie Cue, Blake Ewing and Karen Gilbert — have stepped out against against Proposition 1, the World reports.

Bynum has been openly critical of the $52.9 million deal-closing fund aspect, which would have a government authority parceling out tax dollars to help lure new and expand existing businesses.

Two former Tulsa city councilors — Maria Barnes and Roscoe Turner — oppose Vision2, the Tulsa Beacon reports. A group called Citizens for a Better Vision rallying for a ‘no’ vote, and says Vision2 amounts to a taxpayer-funded “bailout” and corporate “bribery.” Tulsa mayoral candidate Bill Christiansen is also against Vision2.


StateImpact’s 2012 Ballot Question Handbook

Oklahoma’s economically important state and county ballot questions — explained.

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