Is Shawnee, with a population of just under 30,000, a “larger city”?
I think the world of Oklahoma Watch, the non-profit news venture that partners up with The Oklahoman, Tulsa World and other news outlets around the state on in-depth public interest stories.
A story in today’s Oklahoman, which isn’t online (UPDATE: read it here), about a task force led by Rep. David Dank examining whether to cut back or eliminate historic tax credits takes an assumption by Dank and treats it as fact: that these tax credits primarily benefit larger cities like Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
To those of you associated with Main Street programs around the state, to those of you in the preservation community, I’d advise this is something you’ll want to watch carefully.
A few back I was lucky enough to get to travel around the state, visiting with Main Street business owners from Poteau to Miami to Stillwater. I personally saw examples of treasured, yet neglected Main Street properties brought back to life with the help of these tax credits. If these credits are limited to the major cities, then please explain that definition as it applies to Shawnee (where tax credits helped on renovating the Aldridge Hotel) and in Muskogee (the Surety Apartments).
Maybe these tax credits are good, maybe they’re bad. But a look at the facts will show these tax credits have been used quite a bit in small town Oklahoma.