Friday, December 4, 2009

Rebuttal To Kill The MAPS Tax's Top 10 List: No. 9

KMT states:

9. The Economy Continues to Slow. More Taxes Will Make It Worse!

There’s plenty of economic doom and gloom to be found in lots of places, even in Oklahoma City. However, the real axe to grind comes out not by trying to draw conclusions about how flat state economic growth might affect city sales tax receipts. Instead, KMT says, “Taking more money out of the pockets of citizens to fund projects for the OKC Elite is the wrong thing to do at the wrong time. Oklahoma's unemployment is up to 7.2%. Taxpayers need a break! Oklahoma City needs the boost in spending from a tax cut. We don't need more taxes!”

Where to start… Okay, in order:

A. You’re not paying more. You’re paying the same. Don’t attempt to confuse the issue.

B. (sarcasm) The OKC Elite? Really? I guess that’s the same OKC Elite who line the river for aquatics events and fireworks shows. I guess that’s the OKC Elite who would utilize refurbished State Fairgrounds facilities for their gun shows, antique shows, craft shows, horse shows, 4-H and FFA events, and the numerous shows that make our city the Horse Show Capital of the World. It’s the OKC Elite who’ll be the only ones using those Senior Citizen Aquatic Centers and bike trails. And, of course, Larry Nichols needs the combination of MAPS 3 and the TIF district money to make sure his new Devon condo has a really nice front lawn. (/sarcasm)

C. Oklahoma’s unemployment may be 7.2%, but OKC’s is currently estimated at 6.5% as of October. That’s tied with Virginia Beach for the second lowest in the country behind Washington D.C. (see source material here).

D. Everybody always wants to pay less. However, using KMT’s own numbers, we’re looking at an average of $10 a month per person. That’s roughly 33 cents a day. Oklahoma City can have its own Central Park, the beginnings of a rail system, major infrastructure renovations and improvements, and other amenities that will last through most people’s lifetimes, for 33 cents a day for seven years.

E. The impact of that extra $10 a month if it comes off the current tax rate? Probably minimal. Not because of the amount, but because in recessionary periods, tax cuts don’t stimulate the same level of consumption that they do in growth periods. People are concerned about their primary needs, so additional income tends to go into savings or debt reduction. This could be viewed as a Keynesian justification for spending, but it’s more like Friedman’s permanent income argument. For related articles, see here, here, and here.