Saturday, May 11, 2019

Muskogee Election: NAACP opposes sales-tax renewal

On Tuesday, voters in Muskogee will be considering two propositions on renewing a six-year half-cent sales tax. The previous tax was focused on state-mandated improvements to the sewer system; this go-round, the City aims to devote .33% to street maintenance, and another .17% to various beautification, recreation, and economic development projects.

The Muskogee NAACP has come out in opposition to the sales-tax renewal, as stated in the following press release:

MUSKOGEE -- NAACP of Muskogee released the following statement of opinion after the recent forum held at the Marin Luther King, Jr. Center where the Propositions were discussed.

Muskogee Branch NAACP Urges Community to "VOTE NO" Propositions 1 & 2

Muskogee Branch NAACP is urging voters to "VOTE NO" on Propositions 1 & 2, on May 14 to renew a half-cent sales tax, which would be used to fund a $24 million street improvement program because of the lack of information concerning all residents. Our concerns as in the past street projects were to be repaired in all areas of the community yet the main projects focused on the Eastside of town and communities of low-and middle-income and color were left in the dark.

We agree with the improvements that need to be made within the city. However, we disagree with the proposed funding of the projects. We would like to see that the city considered funding the projects 100% through the foundation or other resources. Instead of using "Proposition 1 & 2" as a means of making the citizens of Muskogee pay more taxes with the own money.

The City of Muskogee Foundation was established in 2008 for the purpose of effectively developing, supporting, promoting, and improving programs and facilities relating to education, arts, culture, community revitalization and beautification, social services, health care, economic development, infrastructure, housing, and recreation for the City of Muskogee and surrounding areas and to improve the quality of life of all residents of Muskogee.

This Proposition could have a negative impact for low-and middle-income citizens of Muskogee; it will cause great harm and a lack of trust, if the Westside of town continues to be left out; the tax extension could mean continued hardships for families already saddled with exorbitant medical cost; It represents an opportunity lost in terms of what is needed to help all Muskogee families prosper, not just the wealthy few. We would like for more transparency from city officials.

UPDATE: You can view a perspective in favor of the sales-tax renewal at this link.


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