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Vote Tuesday in initiative petition election on parks sales tax in Oklahoma City

Post Date:03/02/2020 8:30 AM

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday for the initiative petition election in Oklahoma City to consider a permanent 1/8-cent sales tax for parks.

Oklahoma City voters registered at their current address by the Feb. 7 deadline are eligible to vote in the March 3 election. If you aren’t sure that you live in Oklahoma City, visit okc.gov/citylimits to check.

Voting is at your usual polling location, which you can find using the voter portal on the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website at ok.gov/elections/ovp or on your voter ID card.

EMBARK bus service and OKC Streetcar service is free Tuesday to help voters get to the polls. Visit embarkok.com or okcstreetcar.com for route maps, trip planning and more.

There is only one item on the initiative petition ballot. Voters will choose yes or no on a permanent 1/8-cent sales tax for parks. The Oklahoma presidential primary election and other issues on the same day are on separate ballots.

Click here to see a sample initiative petition ballot.

State law requires proof of identity to vote. Acceptable forms of ID are a voter ID card, driver’s license or another form of ID issued by the federal government, state government or federally recognized tribal government. Voters may also cast a provisional ballot by proving their identity with a signed, sworn affidavit, which is available at the polling station.

Voters who have disabilities can find more information about voter assistance in Oklahoma at ok.gov/elections.

The election was not proposed by City Council. A resident proposed the initiative petition, which was filed in December at City Hall with 7,977 signatures. The City Clerk and Municipal Counselor verified the number of legally sufficient signatures from Oklahoma City voters surpassed the 6,499 needed to trigger an election. The City Council is required by law to put the issue on a citywide ballot.

Get details at okc.gov/parksvote.

About the proposed tax

The proposed 1/8-cent parks sales tax, if approved, would be similar to the ¾-cent sales tax dedicated to public safety (primarily the Police and Fire departments), and the 1/8-cent sales tax dedicated to the Oklahoma City Zoo. Voters approved those permanent taxes in 1989 and 1990 after initiative petitions in 1989.

The City Council would oversee spending of revenue from the proposed parks sales tax. The proposal would require the funds to be spent only on parks operated by OKC Parks, not City-owned parks operated by non-governmental foundations like Scissortail Park or Myriad Botanical Gardens. The proposal also requires the funds to support maintenance, improvements, programming and other parks operations expenses.

The Finance Department estimates the tax would raise about $15 million annually. It would take effect July 1.

Including state sales tax, the new overall sales tax rate in most of Oklahoma City would rise from 8.625 to 8.75%. It would be an increase of 12.5 cents in sales tax on a $100 purchase.

The rest of the permanent Oklahoma City sales tax goes to the General Fund for day-to-day operations, which is mostly public safety services. There’s also a temporary penny sales tax that will fund Better Streets, Safer City projects until March 31, and then MAPS 4 for eight years starting April 1.

Learn more about sales tax in Oklahoma City at okc.gov/tax.

Media Contact
Kristy Yager
(405) 297-2550
kristy.yager@okc.gov

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