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Public Finance, OKC Style

There are lots of ways to pay for an arena, but Mayor Mick Cornett said city leaders thought the choice was obvious in Oklahoma City.

The Ford Center was built with money from the original MAPS sales tax.

It just made sense to continue the temporary 1-cent sales tax, which was already extended to pay for MAPS for Kids, Cornett said.

If voters approve the Ford Center tax, it will go into effect Jan. 1, 2009, the day the MAPS for Kids tax is set to expire.

"Our citizens seem to prefer a sales tax initiative to other concepts,” Cornett said. "This is following the model that was created by MAPS. MAPS is a proven entity to our voters.”

No other NBA arena was funded exclusively by sales tax money, according to the National Sports Law Institute of Marquette University Law School.

Clever trick, to schedule the arrival of the Sonics right about when the sales tax would otherwise expire, don't you think? That fella Brad Humphreys is working for some pretty sharp cookies (inside joke -- see the comments here).

Mayor Cornett goes on to give a doozy of a tutorial on public finance, in case you want a snide chuckle or two. But the real story to me is the timing of this surreptitious little tax - very clever indeed. Thanks to Steve Winkler for the link.

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