The Oklahoma City Council approved implementing a use tax to coincide with the sales tax extension for the Ford Center renovations. The council approved the use tax measure by a 6-1 vote.
Ward 5 Councilman Brian Walters voted against the measure.
The use tax will be a one-cent tax assessed on businesses. It will go into effect on Jan. 1, the same time as the Ford Center sales tax extension. City officials expect the use tax to generate $11 million over 15 months.
Unlike the sales tax, the use tax funds may be used at the discretion of the council. However, the wording of the ordinance specifically includes using the money for the Ford Center and the NBA teams practice facility, along with other capital improvement projects.
This wording gave Walters concern, believing the money could only be used for the basketball team.
Two members of the public spoke out against the measure including state Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. Reynolds suggested that if the Ford Center and practice facility costs do not run over budget, the city could reduce the amount of time the sales tax is in effect. But the council said that would violate state law.
An ardent opponent of the sales tax, David Glover, also addressed the council on the use tax.
“Just because you can do this doesn’t mean you should,” Glover said.
But Mayor Mick Cornett said the money will be wisely spent.
“I think we have used this money in the past for very responsible items,” Cornett said.
A use tax was also put into place with the original MAPS project and MAPS for Kids. “Scott Cooper