Sunday, November 06, 2005

Wilbert Collins: Huh?

I'm not sure which of two head scratchers from today's story on the growing opposition to Tulsa County's Four-To-Fix sales tax initiative was the itchiest.

I'm still amazed at the fact that the Tulsa World refuses to state, in any of the stories they've written, that my opposition to F-2-F is due to my idea of using the available tax (should the voters of Tulsa approve) to fund police academies and additional officers, as well as to fund other public safety proposals.

I guess the World knows that if the public gets wind of the details of my plan, that F-2-F is likely doomed.

The second head-scratcher is the response by County commissioner Wilbert Collins. Here's what Commissioner Collins said:

Medlock said police staffing was down when it should be

increased and he was worried that communities such as Broken Arrow could start recruiting Tulsa officers by offering better pay.

Medlock said the county should stick to property taxes for funding and let municipalities use the traditional method of raising money with sales taxes.

"I think the county's fixed," he said. "The county is continuing to prosper, even though the city is not."

County Commissioner Wilbert Collins stressed that "4 to Fix" is a county tax.

"(Medlock) ought to understand that. Why is it legal for us to launch the effort if it's not proper?" Collins said. "He needs to find a way to fund his projects in the city, and if it's police and fire, so be it. I agree they need some funding. That's his job, to find some funding."

Commissioner...I know 4 to Fix is a county tax. So are all those property taxes you collect. There was a day when the County collected no sales taxes and I hope that day comes again in my lifetime. I acknowledge it is a county tax, but if we vote it down, the voters of the City of Tulsa can reprioritize and vote in a CITY tax in the same amount to fund police and public safety.

As for the difference between legality and propriety, let me start with this: just because something is legal doesn't make it proper. I've never challenged either the legality of your tax or the propriety of asking for a renewal. What I've said is, that it needs to be ended because the priorities for the City of Tulsa have changed and that many like me believe its time to get the County out of the sales tax business.

Ending 4 to Fix and then offering a public safety alternative use for the same amount is legal, proper and imperative.

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