Well, yesterday proved to be pretty decisive at the polls. Oklahoma City voters approved the proposed sales tax extension to make $121 million worth of improvements to the Ford Center and to construct a practice facility in the hope of gaining NBA fame on a permanent basis. The proposal was voted on by nearly 45,000 people and was approved by a 62% margin, according to the Oklahoma County Election Board. The plan will extend the one-penny sales tax for 15 months and pay for $97 million in upgrades to the Ford Center and close to $25 million for a brand-spanking-new NBA-quality practice facility.
Both sides of the argument had valid points and argued their points of view with passion. On the “yes” side, of course this is meant to bring an NBA franchise to Oklahoma City to stay, among other top-level events such as concerts and collegiate basketball tournaments, and thereby jump start our city’s status on the national level. The no side held that the tax amounted to corporate subsidy and focused on the opportunity cost of using public funds for such a project.
At the end of the day, the majority felt that there is merit in investing in their community in an attempt to make Oklahoma City more of a national destination, as well as bringing a ton of jobs into the city. But the arguments no longer matter and we at Langston’s hope the improvements will help make a more enjoyable experience for rodeo fans, hockey fans, PBR fans, concert goers and maybe, someday, even NBA fans.
And as far as getting an NBA to locate in Oklahoma City it looks like it’s now up to the powers that be in the NBA. OKC has been at the top of the NBA Relocation list for a couple of years now, so fret not roundball fans: we will build it, and they will come. Who “they” will be and when they’ll be here is still up in the air, right up there with the excitement level in our modest little ‘burg.