MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 5, 2014

Voters should extend taxes


— Muskogee voters should extend two existing sales taxes for another five years to help fund Action In Muskogee initiatives and improvements to the city’s sewage system.

Voters will get a chance to weigh in June 24 on these taxes:

• A 0.32 percent sales tax to fund improvements to the city’s sewage system.

• A 0.18 percent sales tax to help fund projects identified by the Action in Muskogee initiative.

Both these taxes need to be approved.

The first tax funds sewage system improvements mandated by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

The city really has no choice but to make the required improvements.

If the sales tax is allowed to expire, citizens would be forced to fund the improvements anyway. That might include curtailing city services or raising rates.

That is not a bridge we are willing to cross.

The second sales tax extension allows citizens to put up or shut up.

Citizens were involved and engaged in the AIM process.

AIM initiatives need funding to reach fruition.

If, as a citizen, you want to make significant change in our community, there must be a funding mechanism.

Remember two critical points:

• You already pay these taxes. They are not tax increases.

• Everyone who purchases goods or services in Muskogee will pay the tax. It won’t just be citizens paying these taxes. Visitors will help fund our improvements.

The decision to extend these taxes is a no-brainer. Voters must pass them.