Debate Continues Over Tax Incentive Packages Offered To Big Businesses

Wednesday, June 11th 2014, 5:49 pm
By: Karl Torp

The plan to give a major retailer millions in incentive money to move to OKC has sparked controversy.

This week, the OKC City Council signed off on a plan to pay $3.5 million to hunting and fishing specialty retailer, Cabela's.

Cabela's plans to build a 80,000 square foot store near Western and the Kilpatrick Turnpike.

Councilman Ed Shadid was the only council member to vote against the plan.

He told News 9 getting cities to outbid each other with incentives is part of Cabela's business model.

Shadid claims the retail giant was moving to Oklahoma City regardless of the incentives.

"It won't stop until somebody stands up to the bully in the playground and says, ‘no, I'm not going to give you my lunch money,''' Shadid said.

"There was no guarantee that they were coming to OKC," Oklahoma City Economic Development's Brent Bryant said.

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said state lawmakers are putting too much of a burden on sales tax revenue.

"To operate over half our revenue comes from sales tax," Mayor Cornett said.

"You end up fighting over big box retailer, like a Walmart," said Mayor Cornett. "It matters to municipal governments whether that Walmart is on this side of the street or that side of the street."