By: Ronda Vuillemont-Smith
The Chamber of Commerce blubbers that American Airlines might leave Tulsa! The airport facilities are outdated, in need of repair and upgrading and we MUST fix this immediately! NO, Tulsa hasn’t received any guarantees that American Airlines will stay in Tulsa if the improvements are made, but we surely can’t let a good crisis go to waste. Right?
Vision 2 is a hastily thrown together plan by the Chamber of Commerce to save American Airlines jobs, or so they say. They propose to upgrade and renovate the hangars and facilities American Airlines and others use, in hopes that they will stay in Tulsa. Oh, and they’d also like $53 million for a “Closing Fund” to bribe businesses to come to Tulsa.
If Tulsa can’t be a responsible landlord and secure enough money in leasing the property to cover maintenance, repairs and upgrades, then maybe they should sell the property, thus privatizing it, and get out of the landlord business. American Airlines has made no promise to stay in Tulsa should the facilities be upgraded, so without a long term (profitable) lease, the tax payers shouldn’t be asked to foot the bill and cross our fingers, hoping AA doesn’t pull out. We didn’t like the GM bailouts that Obama gave us and we darn sure don’t want to foot the bill for an American Airlines bailout.
About the ‘Closing Fund,’ the Chamber of Commerce will tell you that they MUST have a closing fund to bribe entice new businesses into the Tulsa area, because well, “everyone else has one, so we need one too.” Sounds like your kids, doesn’t it? How about reducing regulations and cutting taxes to entice businesses into Tulsa?
Airport industrial complex buildings and infrastructure – $122 million (Bailout)
Airport industrial complex equipment – $132 million (Bailout)
Closing fund – $52.942 million (Bribery Slush Fund)
Bond costs and interest – $79.938 million (Payments to George Kaiser and BOK)
On November 6, we will be voting on 2 parts of the Vision 2 boondoggle. The second part is the “Free money,” that the outlying communities have requested for their own capital improvements. To help get Vision 2025 passed in 2003, Tulsa had to dangle carrots in front of our suburban communities to get them to help them sell the project to their voters. It worked! Never one to let a crisis go to waste, lo and behold when word got out that an extension of the Vision 2025 tax might get voted on, the mayors of our surrounding communities rushed eagerly to the trough of free money with their hands out eager to fund their pet projects capital improvements as well.
Now here’s where we get to the Nancy Pelosi part of the ‘vision,’ they don’t know what they necessarily want to spend the Vision 2 money on, but they want you to pass it anyway. Shades of “we must pass the bill to find out what’s in the bill,” wouldn’t you agree?
Proposition 2: Quality-of-life improvements
Tulsa County – $92 million
Tulsa – $157.92 million
Bixby – $11.3 million
Broken Arrow – $44.1 million
Collinsville – $3 million
Glenpool – $5.9 million
Jenks – $9.2 million
Owasso – $14.38 million
Sand Springs – $10.1 million
Skiatook – $1.16 million
Sperry – $643,894
Bond costs and interest – $12 million (More money for George Kaiser and BOK)
Combine the two propositions and it totals almost ¾ of a BILLION dollars, extending our tax obligation an additional 12 years and we still have 5 years before the first one expires. I understand that there is a need for capital improvements but I don’t believe in throwing good money after bad. This is the wrong time to place this on the ballot. Our economy is unstable, grocery and gas prices are rising, our trash service is costing us more, our utilities are going up but our paycheck is getting smaller and smaller as the government continues to chip away at our earnings.
As the Chamber of Commerce, the City Council and Mayor go about Tulsa county on their “Tell Us What YOU Want” Tour, you have to ask yourself, does this fall in line with how you believe government should run? Is this the proper role of the Chamber of Commerce? Should taxpayer dollars be used to pick winners and losers, feeding the corporate welfare beast? How quickly our elected officials forget the battle cry of Americans demanding, smaller government, lower taxes and fiscal responsibility.
Vision 2, the ‘Visionsless Vision’, a wish list of wants funded by YOU for the next 17 years with no guarantees. Are you feeling lucky?