Party Leaders Unite In Opposition To Arena Proposition

Three Oklahoma leaders are speaking out against the new arena proposition.

Monday, December 11th 2023, 5:26 pm


In the final push to election day, an unlikely coalition is voicing its opposition to the building of a new arena in Oklahoma City, accompanied by a penny sales tax.

A trip across the aisle doesn’t happen often it seems, but when it comes to taxpayers funding 95 percent of a new arena, three party leaders are finding common ground.

“We don’t even have a word for it. We had to make up a word – tripartisan,” said Vice Chair of the fifth district Democratic Party, Ben Eisenberg.

He joined the Chair of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party, Chris Powell, outside of the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce to encourage voters to say no.

“Bad policy can unite a lot of people of good faith,” said Powell. “This is not only corporate welfare, but it appears to be a particularly bad deal.”

The deal would see a continuation of the one cent sales tax for the next six years.

“We don’t agree on much,” said Eisenberg. “And we’ve come to oppose this for different reasons, and yet we can agree the deal is terrible.”

A statement was also submitted for reading by the Vice Chair of the OKGOP, though Wayne Hill was commenting as a private citizen.

“Calling this a temporary tax when it has lasted longer than many of our residents have been alive is not accurate,” Hill’s statement in part reads. “This version of the tax goes far outside the financial structure MAPS traditionally uses.”

There was agreement outside the Chamber of Commerce whose position inside is clear – vote yes.

“The support we’re seeing certainly isn’t partisan,” says Tyler Moore with Keep OKC Big League.

Moore is leading the charge when it comes to rallying supporters of the proposition.

“This is going to allow Oklahoma City itself to own the arena and not the ownership group for the Thunder,” he says.

Moore doesn’t see how voting no could lead to a better deal being offered.

“They have not indicated that they are going to go on and continue to have conversations in the future,” he says. “This is the deal.”

Those rallying outside the building believe that saying the Thunder will leave is a form of fear-mongering. However, Moore believes it is just the reality of the situation and this is an opportunity that doesn’t come often.

“We’re a small market. We’ve got to step up to the plate if we want this team,” he says.


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