Ed Shadid has new ideas for city revenue and spending
Story by Darla Shelden on September 10, 2013 . Click on author name to view all articles by this author. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
“It’s been so long since we’ve had a real conversation about the issues and a hard fought campaign for mayor,” Dr. Ed Shadid, Oklahoma City Mayoral candidate said in an interview with The City Sentinel at his new campaign office on 7th & N. Hudson.
The Ward 2 council member believes that city government should not rely on volatile sales tax revenue for its many projects.
“It’s fiscally irresponsible to assume that sales tax revenue will indefinitely increase and that you can pay for the operations and maintenance with this new revenue. Even if it did, you’re still making a decision to put the money into new projects rather than correct the deficiencies that we have right now,” Shadid said.
“Forty nine states allow their cities to use property tax for operating expenses. Oklahoma doesn’t. They use it for their police, fire, public works, everything. So if a recession comes you don’t have to panic.”
One economic development program Shadid is interested in concerns small business loans.
“We just talked about a program that’s designed for small businesses to give them low interest loans to help make purchases that they would not otherwise be able to finance,” he said. “If a bank is able to give them 80 percent of what they need and the city can loan them the other 20 percent at a low interest rate, it helps get the deal done.
“The only time that I believe tax dollars should be used is to create something that would not have happened, without the incentive. If it would have happened anyway, then I cannot support it.”
One economic development case noted by Shadid was the decision of Continental Re-sources to triple their workforce because of drilling expansion in North Dakota.
Shadid asserts that the City has offered Continental $77 million in incentives for job cre-ation. “I think Continental will take the incentive if it’s offered, but I don’t know that they would protest if it wasn’t there,” Shadid said
“I find it disappointing that you could have gotten more for the tax payer dollars than for something that would have happened otherwise,” Shadid added. “When it comes to in-centives and economic development, that is the first and most important test it’s got to pass for me.”
Shadid indicates that even though the future 2017 bond is bigger than MAPS – $835 million vs. $777 million – “nobody talks about it, nobody’s at the table, neighborhoods don’t know about it. Who is at the table are the developers – with their attorneys,” he said.
“The neighborhood that has kids walking in the streets, or who has potholes in their streets don’t know about it. They’re not involved and they get skipped again and again.”
Shadid advocates what is known as “placemaking” in city neighborhoods. The term be-gan in the 1970s by architects and planners to describe the process of creating interesting plazas, parks, and streets to attract people. The process includes the input of the locals that live in those neighborhoods.
“An important part of my vision for the City is that when we’re doing infrastructure im-provements that we’re going to do anyway, like resurface streets, that we think about placemaking,” Shadid said.
“When you’re resurfacing the street, there are things that you can do that would encourage businesses to grow there and pedestrians to congregate there. Use lights and trees to make it inviting – benches, nice public transit stops that treat people with dignity.”
Shadid added, “Incorporate all that and try to create large sidewalk spaces where you can have outdoor dining. A restaurant has now increased their capacity without doing anything. To me that’s economic development.”
Shadid’s idea is to pick several locations where the city is already going to spend money on street renovation: “Build a streetscape, which could easily be $5 million a mile, in 10-15 areas of the city –along with the loans and incentives for small businesses, that’s a pretty huge chunk of economic development.”
“Right now we are unbelievably dependent on sales tax, which hits the poor to a higher degree, but in addition to that it’s less stable,” he said.
For more information, visit www.edshadid.com