Updated: Dec 5, 2019
Oklahoma City voters will soon decide the fate of MAPS 4, the fourth edition of a 1-cent sales tax designed to invest in city services and infrastructure. The proposal includes 16 projects that would cost nearly $978 million and would be located across the entire city.
December 10th 2019 residents have an opportunity to simply vote yes or no in favor of MAPS4. The last votes starting almost two decade ago resulted in MAPS programs which has brought much beauty to the once crippled city of the late 1980's. This insures the continued progress of the city and even aims to fix social issues like homelessness.
MAPS 4 projects, but how much will it cost consumers?
By David Dishman The Oklahoman
MAPS 4 projects are expected to cost taxpayers $978 million — a record amount for a MAPS initiative — and the total collections could be even more.
The fate of the project rests with voters who must decide if the 16 projects associated with MAPS 4 are worth such a cost. But how is that money raised? Who pays for it? And how does this compare to past MAPS projects?
Understanding the answers to all these questions can help a voter decide whether or not to support the tax on the Dec. 10 ballot.
This story is the second part in a multipart series examining MAPS 4.
How the money is raised
MAPS projects have always raised funds through a 1-cent sales tax on items sold in Oklahoma City, and MAPS 4 is no different.
The city’s current sales tax rate is 4.125%. This means for every dollar you spend on an item that is subject to sales tax in Oklahoma City, you pay a little more than 4 cents extra that is allocated for four purposes.
One of the four purposes currently is a 1-cent tax allocated for street improvements. Since the tax is assessed at a rate of 1 cent for every dollar spent, it is also sometimes described as being a 1% tax.
This tax is set to expire this spring, but would effectively be replaced by the MAPS 4 tax if the project list is approved by voters. This means citizens would see no overall change in their city sales tax rates. This 1-cent tax would be extended by an additional eight years for MAPS 4.
One cent might not seem like much, but city officials believe this 1-cent tax is enough to raise the full $978 million needed for the MAPS 4 projects. In fact, $978 might be a conservative estimate.
“Our finance department does a projection,” MAPS 3 Program Manager David Todd said. “There’s so many variables. You could go through a recession in that time, so they take a very conservative look based on trends.”
MAPS projects are completed after the money is collected in order to avoid taking on construction debts.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ME?
While MAPS 4 projects are intended to benefit the entire city, it will cost individuals different amounts.
Sales taxes are paid by individual consumers every time a purchase is made and a sales tax is added. Each purchase is subject to the same 1-cent tax rate under the MAPS funding model, but how much an individual contributes depends on how much he or she spends on items subject to sales tax.
Sales tax is levied on items ranging from food and groceries, clothes, toys, office supplies, household goods, furniture and more. It’s sometimes described as a tangible tax on products you can hold and touch, as opposed to others, such as property taxes or income taxes.
One benefit is everyone pays sales tax and every citizen would contribute to MAPS 4.
For example, if an individual or family spends $1,000 per month in Oklahoma City on goods with a sales tax — for items like groceries, toys and clothes for kids, office supplies and home decorations — you would be charged an additional $86.25 per month in sales tax.
Of that amount, $45 would be for state sales tax collections, while the remaining $41.25 would be for Oklahoma City sales taxes. Additional county taxes would also be collected if purchases occurred in Canadian County or Cleveland County.
Breaking this amount down further, $10 of the Oklahoma City sales tax would go toward MAPS 4.
In this hypothetical situation, this individual or family that spends $1,000 per month on items subject to sales tax would contribute nearly $120 annually toward MAPS and about $960 over the course of the eight-year lifespan of the tax.
READ THE FULL MASTER LIST OF ALL ITEMS ON MAPS4 PRESENTED BY THE OKLAHOMAN HERE