With just under two months left until my fellow Oklahoma City residents and I head to the polling stations to cast our votes on the MAPS 4 proposal, I thought this evening would be the perfect time for us all to start thinking about MAPS 5.
Before I begin, I’d like to first sincerely apologize to all the sitting-members of the Oklahoma City Council (except David Greenwell), for I am sure you will all love reading an article that discusses MAPS 5 before our city has even had the chance to vote on MAPS 4.
But, what can I say? It’s in the title.
Anyway, for those who are still unfamiliar with MAPS in OKC, it is essentially a limited-term, one-cent sales tax that the citizens of Oklahoma City invoke on ourselves in a joint effort to revitalize this mehtropolis.
MAPS 4 is the 4th installment of this one-cent tax, and although it is set to give a $37 million dollar minor-league stadium handout to a pair of millionaires who have plenty of Trump’s tax cut money to pay for the whole thing themselves, all in all, MAPS 4 looks to be the most progressive and inspiring MAPS proposal, yet.
That is –– until my MAPS 5 proposal comes around.
What if We Vote Yes?
I know the MAPS program has very, real-life consequences, but let’s play pretend just for a moment. Let’s say the voters of OKC end up deciding we really like the MAPS 4 proposal in December.
OKC residents decide we don’t mind leaving operational funds for future crisis centers up to our totally dependable state officials while we guarantee millionaire folks a free minor-league stadium that will host soccer games during the same seasonal timeframe as our other minor league team. (You know, the one that on average barely fills up half of its stadium’s 11,000 seats?)
Let’s pretend we vote “Yes” on MAPS 4. Now what?
Let me answer that question with another one.
Could You Spare a Nickel?
Remember, MAPS is a “one-cent sales tax that the citizens of Oklahoma City invoke on ourselves.” What if I told you, we could up the ante to a five-cent sales tax and the whole operation would theoretically pay for itself?
Well, that’s precisely what I’m going to do now.
Let’s Put 5 On MAPS 5
According to the current MAPS 4 proposal, we expect the one-cent tax will generate just under a billion dollars in funding over the next 8–12 years.
But by increasing the tax for MAPS 5, we could generate close to $5 billion over a decade and transparently divide it into 5 areas: infrastructure, parks & public transportation, city restoration & research, exterior attraction & interior recreation, and most vitally, environmental sustainability.
I will explain why the latter of these groups is the most crucial part of paying this whole thing off, but I just said a mouthful.
Here’s a very poor visual to help you.
How Do We Pay it Off Peyton?
No, really. That’s the answer.
I understand environmentalism feels like a political position. And I know you don’t hear this often from a twenty-five-year-old Gen Zennial, but I was reading the Economist a couple of months back and found an interesting passage in the rather conservative publication.
Actuaries calculate that governments investing $1 in climate resilience today will save $5 in losses tomorrow. That is a good return on public investment.
By devoting one penny of my MAPS 5 proposal to “climate resilience,” we will save our city a nickel in future losses. By investing 1/5 of our collections into environmental sustainability, we secure upwards of 5 billion dollars for other areas of the public sector.
It’s not rocket science, it’s economics. Or at least, I think it is. I did initially think an actuary was a tidal mouth of a large river and I also got a B in Micro. So, maybe I don’t know shit.
Or maybe, just maybe, I might be on to something.
Wrap it Up, Bro!
To be fair, this is a very surface-level proposal, but y’all didn’t pay or elect me to come up with this. I merely had an idea and made the effort to lay it out.
However, I do understand this idea can lead to more questions instead of less: “What about the other 4 pennies of your MAPS 5 proposal?” “Do you really believe parks and public transportation should be put in the same bucket?” “WTF does exterior attraction mean?”
But I love these questions.
When people pose further questions, it means the previous thought you presented them has now piqued their interest and curiosity. It means they can somewhat fathom your vision and momentarily accept it, but now they have further criteria you need to fulfill to get them on board with you.
At this moment in time, I can’t tell you exactly how the other four pennies will be split in my MAPS 5 proposal. Maybe parks and public transportation shouldn’t go hand-in-hand. And now that I really think about it, exterior attraction does sort of sound like a biological term for a mammal’s mating maneuvers.
But as long as you can fathom the idea of devoting just 1/5 of the city’s future MAPS 5 tax collections to environmental sustainability, be it a penny, 2.5 cents (economics is weird), or a nickel, we can look forward to a FREE, self-sustaining era of MAPS.