Council member likens OKC Cabela's deal to extortion

Council member likens OKC Cabela's deal to extortion

Posted: Updated:

Should Oklahoma City spend your tax dollars to bring in big business?

It's the question at the center of the argument over a new 80,000 sq ft Cabela's store announced last week for Western and the Turnpike.

One city council member is even calling the plan extortion.

"The idea that someone is exacting or getting money from an institution from coercion or threats, it has the spirit of extortion," said Ward 2 Council member Ed Shadid.

Oklahoma City plans to offer Cabela's $3.5 million to ensure the outdoor outfitter sets up shop within city limits.

"Our policy is fear-based," Shadid said in a Skype call from Lawton, "we're incentivizing things that are likely to be happening anyway."

FOX 25's Rebecca Schleicher asked city Economic Development Manger Brent Bryant to explain to taxpayers why he thinks the incentive is a good move for the city.

"Oklahoma City lives and dies by sales tax," he said.

Sales tax accounts for a quarter of the city's general fund. And Cabela's expects to rake in more than $40 million a year, which is why the city wants it here.

"Which helps us pay for essential city services like police and fire and parks and streets," Bryant said.

Cabela's will be the fourth store to ever get the city sales tax incentives. According to Bryant, Bass Pro Shops in Bricktown received $17 million, including its downtown facility, the Outlet Shoppes at Oklahoma City received $5.5 million plus an additional $4 million in infrastructure and Van Maur received $2 million.

Bryant says he expects Cabela's to make the city $800,000 a year in taxes.

When the store announced it's plan, a spokesperson from Cabela's would not discuss anything about the incentives.

"For competitive reasons I can't really speak to details about any contractual agreements," said Nathan Borowski with the Cabela's corporate office.

And the question remains: does the city need to spend tax dollars in order to make tax dollars?

"At the end of the day this just looks like a game of chicken," Schleicher said to Bryant, "would they come here without the incentive?"

"I believe that they would not come here," Bryant responded, "I believe that they would come to an outlying suburban area."

Shadid was the only council member to vote against moving forward with negotiations regarding the plan this week.

The city council will vote on the final agreement July 1.

  • Top StoriesMore>>

  • Norman warns residents about arsenic in the water

    Norman warns residents about arsenic in the water

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:31 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:31:08 GMT
    Folks who turn on the faucet in Norman now have another warning about arsenic in the water. The warnings are coming from this letter, sent to residents this week.Three wells exceeded the legal limit for arsenic, and had to be shut down.But Norman's director of utilities Ken Komiske says the city's water is safe to drink."We took care of it. We turned off these wells, they represent less than 2% of all the water we produce," Komiske said.While the problem is concerning, Komiske says the limits...
    Folks who turn on the faucet in Norman now have another warning about arsenic in the water. The warnings are coming from this letter, sent to residents this week.Three wells exceeded the legal limit for arsenic, and had to be shut down.But Norman's director of utilities Ken Komiske says the city's water is safe to drink."We took care of it. We turned off these wells, they represent less than 2% of all the water we produce," Komiske said.While the problem is concerning, Komiske says the limits...
  • Oklahoma City reverend questions Honest Tea's social experiment

    Oklahoma City reverend questions Honest Tea's social experiment

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:00:23 GMT
    Honest Tea's hashtag logo for their Honest Index Social Experiment. Honest Tea's hashtag logo for their Honest Index Social Experiment.
    A simple social experiment made its first stop in the metro Friday to find out if the city is honest.But one local pastor, Reverend Joelene Barber, wasn't happy it was held in her neighborhood.
    A simple social experiment made its first stop in the metro Friday to find out if the city is honest.But one local pastor, Reverend Joelene Barber, wasn't happy it was held in her neighborhood.
  • Storm shelter grant money available to some in Oklahoma

    Storm shelter grant money available to some in Oklahoma

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:39 PM EDT2014-07-26 00:39:19 GMT
    It's been a quiet storm season in the state, but Oklahomans know the next round could always be just around the corner .A storm shelter can offer piece of mind but it comes at a cost.
    It's been a quiet storm season in the state, but Oklahomans know the next round could always be just around the corner .A storm shelter can offer piece of mind but it comes at a cost.
  • FOX25 Slideshows

Most Popular

Stories
Videos
Compiling list...
  • FOX 25 FeaturesMore>>

  • Tell Me Something Good

    Tell Me Something Good

    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
    Tired of all the bad news? Looking for some good news? Tell Me Something Good, does just that! FOX 25's Mike Brooks finds the good in Oklahoma and tells you all about it.
  • Waste Watch

    Waste Watch

    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
    How are your tax dollars being spent? FOX 25 Waste Watch tracks whether local, state and federal governments, or any groups, are using your money wisely... or wasting it.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by 

WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KOKH. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.