OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Supreme Court has decided on an injunction filed by a former Oklahoma City councilmember regarding the upcoming MAPS 4 vote.
In August, city leaders announced that 16 projects that were presented before the Oklahoma City Council earlier this year would be included in a MAPS 4 package that was presented to city councilmembers.
In all, the MAPS 4 projects would cost $978 million over eight years as part of an ongoing sales tax.
During the city council meeting, many of the councilmembers said that although they may not like all of the projects on the list, they were pleased overall with the package.
Before Oklahoma City councilmembers could vote on the proposal, former Oklahoma City councilman Ed Shadid said that he doesn’t believe the council is working in good faith of the public.
As [Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt] knows, and as many of you know, absent substantive changes in this ordinance, I will file an injunction in district court to challenge the constitutionality of this ordinance and the actions of the mayor and the council, which I think in a very sad, cynical, dishonest way are working to circumvent the single-subject rule of the Oklahoma constitution,” Shadid said.
Shadid said that the language of MAPS 4 is very different from MAPS projects in the past.
“You’re telling the domestic violence victim, ‘You can have your family justice center, but you’re going to have to vote to tax yourself for a multipurpose stadium in order to get it.’ I think you know me personally. I think you know that some of those things are deeply personal to me; mental health, addiction facilities, things at the core of my being that I want so bad. But you’re going to tell me that in order to get that, I have to vote to tax myself to give potentially $10 million to a privately-owned, practice facility for the richest people in Oklahoma? That’s my choice. It is so far beyond an unpalatable choice, it makes me nauseous.”
According to court documents filed on in September, Shadid says that the ordinance was unconstitutional since it “fails the single-subject requirement.”
Shadid argues that citizens should have the right to vote on specific projects and not have an ‘unpalatable all or nothing choice.’
On Monday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court denied Shadid’s petition for an injunction, saying the ordinance “does not violate the single-subject rule found in the Oklahoma Constitution or the single-subject rule found in state statute and City of Oklahoma City’s charter.”
In the decision, the court states that the ordinance does not technically list any specific projects that will be funded through the sales tax.
“There is no requirement for the Advisory Board to recommend adoption of all or any of the later assigned projects. No specific projects are listed or mandated in the Ordinance.”
The decision goes on to say, “We need not analyze the germaneness of the projects listed in the Resolution of Intent because the Ordinance itself, the actual proposed law which will be put to a vote, does not list any of these projects. The Respondent asserts the Resolution of Intent merely proposed a wish list of projects the City Council hopes to accomplish with the excise tax. As mentioned, the Ordinance provides for the creation of a Citizens Sales Tax Advisory Board by a resolution. The duty of this Board is to make recommendations to the City Council concerning the projects assigned to it by the City Council.”
A special election for the MAPS 4 vote is set for Dec. 10.