Parks Sales Tax Initiative Petition

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Oklahoma City voters will consider a permanent 1/8-cent sales tax for parks in a citywide initiative petition election March 3. The election was triggered by a resident's validated initiative petition filed at City Hall, which required the Oklahoma City Council to call the election for voters to consider the issue.

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A resident filed Initiative Petition No. 42 with the City Clerk on Sept. 6, proposing an election for a limited-purpose 1/8-cent sales tax for Oklahoma City parks.

The resident filed 7,977 signatures in support of the petition on Dec. 2. 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.

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 parks operations, improvements, maintenance and programming.

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 be 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 also 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.

Election and voting information

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

Click here to see a sample initiative petition ballot.

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. Use the Oklahoma State Election Board's voter portal at ok.gov/elections/ovp to check your voter registration.

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

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.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the election is 5 p.m. Feb. 26. Apply for an absentee ballot or download an absentee ballot request form at ok.gov/elections.

Overseas voters, including military members, can get more information about overseas absentee voting at ok.gov/elections.

Early voting for the election is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 27-28 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 29 at your local county election board:

Regular voting is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 3 at your usual polling location, which you can find using the voter portal at ok.gov/elections/ovp or on your voter ID card.

EMBARK bus and OKC Streetcar service is free March 3 to help voters get to the polls. Visit embarkok.com or okcstreetcar.com for route maps, trip planning and more.

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