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Luther Seeks Sales Tax Hike

BancFirst Summer 2021

UPDATED STORY featuring more links and what we like to say in the news business is a HOT scoop. Read on!

Luther, OK – Do you know the last time the Town of Luther raised sales taxes? Take a wild guess.

First some information.

  • Current sales tax rate is three cents per dollar.
  • Most of Luther’s revenue comes from sales taxes.
  • The Town receives about $40,000 monthly from sales and use (internet) taxes.
  • The Town budget covers expenses like infrastructure, public safety, staff and operations.
  • Luther has the lowest sales tax rate in the area.

Ready for the answer? 1981.

Shoppers have been pitching in three cents for every sales taxable dollar they spend in Luther for 40 years. Some would say the town has a 1981-era infrastructure to show for it. If you’ve ever complained about water pressure, broken water pipes, potholes, dilapidated houses, stray animals, lack of modern technology, public safety, lack of well-paying jobs and more variety in retail, and/or rundown parks – it’s all connected to revenue, that comes in three cents at a time for every dollar you spend at a time in Luther. That’s a lot of the reason that you see a lot of hype to #shoplocal.

Fun Fact that Bears Repeating

Oklahoma’s cities and towns like Luther receive most funding via sales taxes. Some don’t like that, and some want to change it and might someday, but it’s the system in place today. For example, a city like nearby Edmond takes in about $5.5 million monthly, because the city is chock full of busy restaurants, big box stores, grocery stores and more. Plus there are plenty of big ticket places where you can buy a car (or a fleet), new furniture or replace a washer and dryer. Not so much in Luther. While we can drop some cash in Luther at a restaurant, the discount store, a coffee shop, a few businesses on Main Street, we have to try hard to run up a tab that might equal what a new set of tires cost. Let’s just throw in here, the correlation of needing tires on the regular because of road conditions (Logan County District Two, north of Luther, looking at YOU!) Spend the money in the tax district, and the roads might get better? Note, road maintenance has a different funding system with a whole other source of taxes, and funding based on complicated formulas that make you wish you were better at “new math.”

Meanwhile, guess who came out in support of the tax and dropped a big news scoop?

If you, like me, get sucked into Facebook drama, even though we know we shouldn’t look, you might be aware that The Chicken Shack is moving to Arcadia. But are they moving away from Luther, or is the popular joint, EXPANDING to Arcadia? Expanding just like the Shack’s plans to open in HARRAH. And just like the successful expansion of the Shack in Guthrie and even Florida. By the way, we miss you Pete!

The Shack’s on the move. So are they leaving Luther, or expanding? It’s about the perspective and defining our terms. Some call that spin. Keep reading.

In a Saturday-before-the-election FB post, the Shack appears to come out in favor of the sales tax hike. Note, most of the Shack’s loyal following come non-Luther residents, except for Wednesdays when it’s local night.

We could have a big discussion about taxes and all of that but I really don’t want to go down that road…. The support and generosity from all that come to The Shack is evident in its growth and I humbly thank all that have come and then came back with more…..I will say over the next 5 years with The Celebration of Route 66 in 2026 that this 1% Tax could do a lot for this little town…..

Ed Gochenour, Chicken Shack Facebook Post

Honestly, that post gave me a strong image of an OLIVE BRANCH, given the aforementioned Facebook drama, and the apparent impasse at negotiations with the Town of Luther and the Shack about infrastructure issues, mainly wastewater. There’s a parking issue too, as any observer will note on the weekend. Incidentally, why hasn’t anyone come up with a shuttle service/valet as a side hustle?

If you read the rest of the post, you’ll find a HUGE news scoop, something that hasn’t been said publicly and is contrary to the narrative that the Town is running off the Shack.

I guess one more thing I Need to Add is after I move The Chicken Shack to Arcadia… I do have something that will go back into the Luther spot that can fit it a little bit better and continue to generate revenue and jobs for Luther….

Ed Gochenour, Chicken Shack Facebook Post

The Chicken Shack has a staff nearly 50. We see you Cynthia! Local jobs. In an unofficial survey, that puts the Shack near the top of the job creators in town.

Meanwhile, back to the sales tax election

The ballot features two propositions. One is a question to approve a half-cent sales tax for operations and the other is a half-cent sales tax for capital improvements. If approved the new tax would go into effect in August, 2021.

SALES TAX ELECTION DATE: MAY 11, 2021

Helpful info

Oklahoma Voter Portal

Resolution Calling for Election

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