Saturday, March 02, 2024

Nothing as permanent as a temporary tax: Wagoner County voting Tuesday on EIGHT tax proposals

Wagoner County residents are preparing to vote on EIGHT sales tax propositions, including three that change "temporary" sales tax campaigns into permanent ones. If all eight questions pass, the sales tax in some Wagoner County communities will exceed 10%.

As I said over on Twitter: "Few things are quite so permanent as a temporary tax."

From fellow blogger Michael Bates at

In addition to Oklahoma's presidential preference primary on March 5, 2024, a small number of local jurisdictions will have propositions: Haskell, Norman, Oilton (2), Dewey County, Logan County (3), McIntosh County, Major County, and Sharon-Mutual Public Schools (Dewey & Woodward Counties). One school district, Mannsville in Carter & Johnston Counties, has a special election for an unexpired board seat.

The longest ballot will be in Wagoner County, which has eight propositions relating to county sales taxes:

  • Proposition No. 1: Make permanent the temporary 0.80% for operations and road and bridge improvements, originally approved in 2017
  • Proposition No. 2: Make permanent the temporary 0.10% for Sheriff Office capital outlay and operations, originally approved in 2017
  • Proposition No. 3: Make permanent the temporary 0.10% for General Fund purposes, originally approved in 2017
  • Proposition No. 4: Repurpose half of the permanent 0.30% fire tax approved in 2004 to establish and provide ambulance service.
  • Proposition No. 5: 0.125% for 30 years for courthouse facilities
  • Proposition No. 6: 0.25% permanent for jail facilities and operations
  • Proposition No. 7: 0.125% for 30 years for fairgrounds facilities
  • Proposition No. 8: 5% lodging tax in unincorporated areas for parks and recreational facilities

Proponents call the package "Half a Penny for Wagoner County," referring to the new taxes in propositions 5, 6, and 7, but not considering the increase in taxes resulting from making a penny in temporary taxes permanent. The Wagoner County website has a PowerPoint with details on each proposition "for educational purposes only... does not imply an endorsement."

Some opposition has arisen, pointing out that this amounts to a 38% increase in the county's sales tax rate, from 1.3 cents to 1.8 cents on the dollar. That's on top of the state 4.5% sales tax and any city sales taxes. A group called Taxed Enough Already (TEA) points out that this will push total sales tax rates in the cities of Coweta and Wagoner up to 10.3%. Compare that to the combined 8.417% we pay in the City of Tulsa. While Gov. Stitt just signed a bill eliminating the state sales taxes on groceries, to go into effect in August, city and county sales taxes will continue to be imposed on necessities.

Read the rest of this article at this link.


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