Oklahoma City Is Planning To Spend Hundreds Of Million Dollars To Build A New NBA Arena

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OKC residents may vote on raising sales tax in December.

Oklahoma City residents are going to find out the exact deadlines of a plan that would see a new arena for the National Basketball Association’s Thunder. The Oklahoma City city council will review it and probably pass it along to Oklahoma City voters who will decide if a sales tax hike of one percent should be implemented that would help pay for the arena that would open in about five years. Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt wants to keep the NBA franchise in town which in Holt’s mind makes Oklahoma City a big-league town. The arena will cost at least $900 million. Somehow Oklahoma City politicians are making the claim that even though there will be a sales tax hike, there will be no tax increase for the arena. The Thunder franchise owners would throw in $50 million into the construction of the facility.

Holt said, “As this very public discussion played out over the last year, the people of Oklahoma City have overwhelmingly expressed to me two desires: keep the Thunder for as long as possible, and don’t raise taxes if it can be avoided. We have accomplished those two priorities with this plan, and it is truly a win-win for all of us. Perhaps the most important aspect of the deal is the length – this is twice the commitment we received in 2008 and will keep the Thunder here beyond 2050.” Holt added “cities who want to retain their status as top tier American cities have obligations. Love it or hate it, it’s reality. There’s no way around it, especially in a market our size. And as one of the three smallest markets in the league, we have to do more, not less, to hold our place.” Holt is the latest politician ready to give away the store for an NBA franchise.

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(AP Photo/John Raoux)