March 22, 2017

by Cathy O'Connor, via The Journal Record:

Earlier this month, Amazon began collecting Oklahoma sales tax on online purchases. Reactions to the change have been mixed. Local brick-and-mortar business owners are pleased because it levels the competitive price point. City officials are relieved to begin receiving revenue that was always due, but seldom collected.

Previously, Oklahomans were responsible for declaring online purchases and paying sales tax when they filed their state income tax return, but reports show only 4 percent did. An economic development consulting firm, Civic Economics, estimates that if Amazon had been collecting Oklahoma sales taxes in 2015, more than $56 million would have been collected. Based on self-reported purchases, the sales tax revenue was just a little over $2 million.

Read full article in The Journal Record

 

March 15, 2017

by Cathy O'Connor, via The Journal Record:

The Works Progress Administration, created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, is widely recognized for its contributions to construction and infrastructure projects.

It was formed to relieve the more than 13 million unemployed workers affected by the Great Depression. The program invested a combination of federal and local government dollars on lasting community projects, using local workers.

According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, the WPA spent $59 million in Oklahoma and WPA projects employed approximately 119,000 Oklahomans between 1935 and 1937. An equivalent investment today would be over $1 billion.

Read full article in The Journal Record

March 8, 2017

by Cathy O'Connor, via The Journal Record:

The distant sound of a train whistle may bring an air of nostalgia for some people, but for those forced to hear it up close every day, it can be disruptive and distracting. Now the frequent sound of blowing train horns in downtown Oklahoma City will be a memory thanks to the development of a quiet zone that was completed last week.

The Federal Railway Administration defines a quiet zone as “a stretch of track where the FRA has agreed that trains are not required to routinely sound the horn at each public crossing except in emergencies, such as someone on the track or workers within 25 feet of the track or at the discretion of the crew, as appropriate.”

Read full article in The Journal Record

March 1, 2017

by Cathy O'Connor, via The Journal Record:

Imagine helping to set the stage for the next Ralph Ellison, Jimmy Rushing or Charlie Christian. The novelist, blues singer and jazz guitarist were all Oklahoma natives who graced the stage of the historic Page Woodson auditorium in northeast Oklahoma City.

The former school boasts many notable alumni – some recognizable on an international level, like Rushing – and many, like Willa Johnson and Russell Perry, who are well-known locally for their continued contributions to the fabric of our city.

February 22, 2017

by Cathy O'Connor, via The Journal Record:

Northeast Oklahoma City is an area rich with Oklahoma history and culture. It is also an area that faces more serious economic and health issues than the rest of the city.

According to a comprehensive lifestyle report conducted by the Lynn Institute for Healthcare Research, northeast Oklahoma City is one of the most impoverished areas within our state. The area lacks access to health care, fitness resources such as trails and gyms, healthy food choices and other factors that contribute to poor health statistics. A collaboration among several groups and organizations seeks to address these and other quality-of-life issues.