Last week, I shared a few thoughts on the “Better Streets, Safer City” initiative that a few thousands Oklahoma City residents will vote on today. It’s the bond and tax package that will raise over a billion dollars to fund everything from new roads and bridges to new fireman and policeman to new corporate welfare and taxpayer subsidies.
The article was so amazing and well-articulated that it caught the attention of our city’s resident contrarian – OKC City Councilman Ed Shadid:
How about that? My city councilman is sharing my Internet blog postings on the Internet! Print that out and tape to the fridge, Mom. It’s much cooler than getting knocked out of a poker tournament on the river by Mayor Cornett.
I spent most of the article complaining about the “MAPS 4 Roads” part of the initiative, and how it was an insult to the original MAPS vision. I kind of skipped past the 1/4-cent tax increase to hire more fireman and policemen – which I think is a good idea – and the 13 bond proposals on the ballot.
The $967-million bond package seems like a sane idea. Yeah, roads are a drain on the environment and cost a lot of money to maintain, but we still need them, and although it never really worked for me in SimCity, taking out a bond seems like a decent way to pay for them. It’s at least better than an additional tax, right? My only concern is “other basic needs.” What’s that? Is the city going to pay for food, alcohol and sex? If so, expect larger crowds at the new MAPS 3 Senior Centers.
The internet is an amazing thing. Ballotpedia has a breakdown of each individual bond item, and unfortunately, it looks like we have to continue paying for booze and sex the old-fashioned way. Here’s a list of each bond proposal:
- Proposition 1: $490,560,000 for streets
- Proposition 2: $26,795,000 for bridges
- Proposition 3: $27,585,000 for traffic control
- Proposition 4: $60,000,000 for economic and community development
- Proposition 5: $137,720,000 for parks and recreational facilities
- Proposition 6: $23,910,000 for libraries
- Proposition 7: $20,185,000 for Civic Center complex
- Proposition 8: $20,395,000 for transit
- Proposition 9: $13,085,000 for city maintenance facilities
- Proposition 10: $62,170,000 for drainage control
- Proposition 11: $8,865,000 for downtown city arena
- Proposition 12: $30,840,000 for police services
- Proposition 13: $45,350,000 for fire services
I’m not a cheap ass, and don’t have a problem with improving and maintaining our city’s infrastructure through bond debt, so I think a “Yes” vote is a no-brainer for every item. Well, except for Proposition 4. That sounds like corporate welfare. Some dude that Channel 4 talked to agrees with me:
Bob Waldrop said he intends to vote ‘yes’ on issues such as maintenance for city facilities but will vote in opposition of the street and sidewalk improvement, claiming that money may be unevenly distributed.
Waldrop also does not agree with allocating funds for “economic and community development,” as proposed in the package. Money invested into that project would go toward job incentive programs, but he argues that money could be better spent on the city’s low income residents.
“No one is going to write any checks to any low income person so that he or she can make bread in their home kitchen and sell it to their neighbors,” Waldrop said. “Nobody is going to write a check for like six guys who want to start a home healthcare cooperative. It’s all going to go to people who are already rich, who are already powerful.”
Not to go all Noam Chomsky on you, but I agree 100%. Corporate welfare is one of the biggest scams out there. It does primarily benefit the rich and powerful. Unfortunately, that’s the way our crony capitalistic society works. If local governments don’t pay subsidies to business cartels, the businesses will just move somewhere else that does. Do we want to keep on playing that game? Go vote today and help us figure it out.