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Oklahoma City 2013: Red state voters like local control of taxes in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is famous for taxing itself, which stands out in Oklahoma, one of the reddest states in the country.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL Published: December 17, 2012

Penny sales tax spurred development

It was in 1993 that Oklahoma City residents first voted for the MAPS tax, a penny sales tax that the city credits with spurring more than $5 billion in combined public and private development.

City residents went on to approve an extension of the original MAPS tax to finish those projects, then MAPS for Kids, renovations for what is now called Chesapeake Energy Arena to help lure the Thunder and now MAPS 3.

“They're pleased with the results of their taxation,” Cornett said of city residents continuing to vote for the taxes. “That's the logical conclusion, that they're getting their money's worth.”

Cornett said an additional key to local support of the tax is that the debt-free spending is only on capital projects, not social programs. MAPS provides the bricks and mortar, and the private sector does the rest.

“What government does best is build stuff,” Cornett concluded.