Tahlequah Daily Press


February 8, 2013

City ‘tax watch’ begins today

TAHLEQUAH — On the front page of today’s paper, you’ll find the first in what will be an ongoing series to scrutinize the sales tax Tahlequah voters passed Jan. 8.

We pledged to undertake this regular series if the understandably cautious local voters decided to take the plunge and vote for the tax. Many of you believed the three-quarter-cent sales tax was necessary if Tahlequah is to forge a new path into the future. You voted accordingly, and now, it’s our turn.

A few readers have commented that keeping a “watch” on the tax is part of our regular job – and indeed, they’re correct. But what we have in mind is something far more specific. Instead of regular but broad overviews of the various projects, we’ll be looking between the lines, reporting on the minutiae of budgets, and how key people are working behind the scenes.

We’ve undertaken such series before, and so have other newspapers. Some of this might seen boring to the average reader, but for those who are determined to keep track of how their money’s being spent, these finer details could be critical.

By now, most folks know the basic plans: street and sidewalk upgrades; completion of the sports complex, including more stuff for the kids; a cooperative project with NSU to enhance its multipurpose center into an event venue appropriate for city use; the addition of green spaces and projected walking or bicycle trails; and so much more.

As plans develop and the physical work unfolds, we’ll be on the scene when we can, talking to city employees and concerned citizens. We’ll let you know what contractors are doing the work, how much it costs, and how far along various projects have come. If there are delays or problems, we’ll let you know. If expenditures seem questionable or someone suggests a contractor may be getting an advantage from the “good ol’ boy” network, we’ll ask city officials for the scoop, and report back to you.

Our ability to get you the information will, of course, depend on city officials, and in their turn, NSU decision-makers, and the access to records. From the experience we’ve had so far with Mayor Jason Nichols and others involved, we’re confident this will not be a problem. Officials understand our part in the process, and they know about open records, and how critical it is for them to be above board in everything they do – especially when they’ve asked local citizens to contribute to the coffers.

As the developments unfold, you may have questions about different aspects of the work. If you do, drop Staff Writer Josh Newton a line, at jnewton@tahlequah dailypress.com, and he can address your issue in an upcoming installment.

Sales tax advocates have indicated to us they’re eager to keep the public in the loop, and we’ll take them at their word unless we have evidence to the contrary. It’s your job to keep yourself connected to your community. Stay tuned!

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  • Ban on wage hikes by municipalities a mark of hypocrisy

    The words “God” and “governor” may share the same first two letters, but the two are hardly interchangeable.
    But let’s assume Gov. Mary Fallin really isn’t deluded enough to place her powers on the level of a deity. What rationale would a woman who has championed smaller government and local control use to explain her hypocrisy in banning individual Oklahoma cities from raising minimum wages in their jurisdictions?

    April 18, 2014

  • Community cleanups a good way to ensure our collective success

    This is our community – and it’s no better than what we make it. Let’s make it look great.

    April 16, 2014

  • Attack at school in Pennsylvania: Mental illness root of problem

    Washington’s crusade against guns was dealt a severe blow on Wednesday. No, it wasn’t the Supreme Court curtailment of the Second Amendment right of all Americans to own firearms. It wasn’t an executive order handed down by the administration. It was the brutal assault by a high school student in Pennsylvania against his fellow students – with a knife.

    April 14, 2014

  • People with faulty zippers should be booted from office

    We may forgive, but we shouldn’t forget, because there’s serious work to do in Washington. That work will never be accomplished as long as flawed zippers - literally or figurately – are a pervasive problem.

    April 11, 2014

  • Do your part to fight animal and child abuse

    It’s hard to change the habits of an abuser, especially when mitigating factors – such as alcohol or drugs – are involved. And these patterns tend to repeat themselves in successive generations. But all of us can take one small step to help eradicate this epidemic, and that is to report it when we see it.

    April 9, 2014

  • NSA head lies to Congress, and seems to get away with it

    Is there an obvious pattern of criminality within these governmental agencies? If so, why isn’t the Judicial Department investigating?

    April 7, 2014

  • Pass for rich kiddie rapist proves that justice isn’t blind

    Someone in Wilmington, Del., needs to keep an eye on Superior Court Judge Jan Jurden for the next few months, because she might improve her standard of living due to a sudden influx of cash.
    There’s no other way to explain why Jurden would have sentenced an ultra-wealthy heir to the du Pont fortune to probation for raping his 3-year-old daughter. It’s an outrageous miscarriage of justice that once again proves when it comes to the U.S. justice system, the elite get a pass almost every time.

    April 4, 2014

  • Maybe it’s not $3.2B, but state should still account for tribal cash

    In an editorial published last week, the Daily Press said that through tribal compacts, the state of Oklahoma received about $3.2 billion in annual revenue, partly attributable to the 117 casinos (or 118, in some reports) run by 33 tribes in the state. The information we accessed for that piece was confusing, and had a typo or two, which may have led us to overstate – to a considerable degree – how much money the tribes actually give the state.

    April 2, 2014

  • Tribal compacts should mean state has money to perform its functions

    Oklahoma should be rolling in the dough. The statistics bear that out. Thirty-three American Indian tribes operate 117 casinos in this state. Thanks to “compacts,” these tribes have been sharing the wealth with the state of Oklahoma. And thanks to the casinos, that wealth is substantial.

    March 28, 2014

  • It’s time to turn in your candidate announcements

    If you are running for a political office for which Cherokee County voters can cast ballots, it’s time to turn in your announcement. We’ve already run a few, and expect several more. The primary elections are Tuesday, June 24, with the registration period to vote in this election closing Thursday, May 30.

    March 24, 2014


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
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