What is Vision 2025?

On September 9, 2003, years of hard work came to fruition as voters of Tulsa County approved a one penny 13-year increase in the Tulsa County Sales Tax for regional economic development and capital improvements. The package called “Vision 2025: Foresight 4 Greater Tulsa” was the culmination of a long and arduous effort to grow economic and community infrastructure for future generations.

Empowered by citizens, Tulsa County’s Board of County Commissioners is now actively engaged in the execution of Vision 2025 projects. This site is designed to keep the public informed of progress in that effort. You are invited to check here often as each project moves forward and we work together to build a better community.

Vision 2025 Financial Information

For the month of July 2012, total sales tax receipts now exceed $451 million.  July receipts were $5,138,348.56 for a fiscal year total of $5,138,348.56.  In the month of July 2012, approximately $205,000 in project payments were processed for $556.7 million in Vision 2025 project payments to-date.  Present (revised) estimates indicate sufficient resources for all program expenses.

It has been several years since the development of Vision 2025, the campaign and ultimately overwhelming approval of all propositions by the voters of Tulsa County.  As the Program Director for Vision 2025, we want to take a few moments to refresh a few things.

Vision 2025 was actually 4 separate ballot questions all of which were approved.

Vision 2025 Election Information

  • Vision 2025 drew 128,676 votes (40.7% of registered Tulsa County voters)
  •  Prop. 1 – $350 Million, Boeing Incentives, passed 60% – 40% (This proposition did not go into effect)
  •  Prop. 2 – $22.3 Million, American Airlines Incentives, passed 62% – 38%
  •  Prop. 3 – $395.8 Million, Economic Development, Education, Health Care and Events Facilities, passed 62% – 38
  •  Prop. 4 – $157.4 Million, Capital Improvements, Community Enrichment, passed 60% – 40%

Note that the $ figures provided above include the approved project totals and include the additional $45.5 million allocated to the Arena and convention center project)

With voter approval of the revenue stream (sales tax) for Vision 2025 projects and the cost to deliver them included in three separate voter approved sales tax measures (propositions 2, 3 & 4) combine for a total of $0.006 (6/10ths of a penny) which is to be collected through 2017.  The fourth proposition one (1) while approved has never been collected due to the industry it was tied to, Boeing, did not locate in Tulsa County.

As approved by inclusion in the ballot provision and the underlying ballot resolutions (these are the instruments by which the Tulsa County Commissioners called for the vote and are downloadable from this site), are provisions for the advance funding of projects by the use of bonds.  This was done in order to accelerate completion of the improvements for the benefit of taxpayers and to reduce the potential for project failure due to rapidly increasing construction costs.

Upon analysis the decision was made to utilize a combination of advance funding (bonds, i.e.: a low interest loan) along with a limited pay-as-you-go approach in order to keep the costs of borrowing money as low as possible.  The result was that Tulsa County (via the Tulsa County Industrial Authority) raised $463 million dollars for rapid construction at a target interest rate of less than 4%.  This interest rate over the life of Vision 2025 will produce significant construction cost savings, as the interest rate was substantially less than the cost of average construction inflation in the Tulsa market.



Recent Questions

Over time we receive many questions concerning Vision 2025 financing and share the following examples:

I picked up a flyer at the 2009 TEA Party that said the County is collecting more than it should regarding Vision 2025 Sales Tax, is that so?  No, absolutely not. The sales tax is being collected at exactly the rate and methodology approved by the voters.

Will there be an overage or surplus of Vision 2025 funds?  Right now financial projections are very difficult, our (local) economy is in uncharted territory that we have no historical model to utilize for comparison so it is quite difficult to project.  Right now, it appears there will be sufficient funding for Vision 2025 to meet all obligations, above that until the economy stabilizes we believe it is imprudent to make such projections concerning potential surpluses.

If there is an overage what happens to it?  In accordance with the Tulsa County resolutions, which called for the ballot, a procedure was put into place whereby the Vision 2025 Authority would develop reconditions for additional projects to the County Commissioners for consideration.  It is important to note that any surplus funds would be divided by the propositions and that the projects it is used for meet the criteria for the proposition.

Can the Sales Tax be ended and the bonds paid off early?  Potentially that may be possible but only partially.  As written, and essentially voter approved, the Vision 2025 Sales Tax is duration based (collected for a set period of time, like the City of Tulsa does with it’s capital improvements programs ) so an early cessation would essentially be against the will of the voters.  In addition, the sales tax cannot be ended before sufficient funds meet all projects and bond payment obligations have been fully satisfied and as referenced above the bonds cannot be paid off early.  With the recession and its impact on slowing the sales tax revenue, at this point, any decision relative to this potential appears many years in the future.

What happens to the interest earnings on Vision 2025 money?  No Vision funds (of any kind) are used to support any general government operations.  All interest earnings are utilized for approved program expenses, primarily direct project costs, bond expenses (issuance and interest payments) and program administration expenses (cost to administer the program, proof the expenditures and provide reporting to the County Commissioners, the Vision 2025 Sales Tax Oversight Committee and the public via annual reports and other resources such as developing, maintaining and staffing the Vision 2025 booth at the Tulsa State Fair).

What kind of bonds are they?  There are 5 separate issues (rather than one large bond issue which provided greater flexibility and an overall reduced cost) of revenue bonds, the interest and principal is being repaid with the majority of the proceeds from the Vision 2025 sales tax collections.  The majority of the bonds are fixed rate although there is one release of short-term variable rate bonds remaining, tax-exempt (interest earnings to the bondholders), long term, and non-callable governmental/municipal bonds.  The bonds earned AAA rating and are insured against loss.

What is the interest rate on the bonds?  The target established in the financial plan was to have an overall interest rate of less than a 4%, which has been met.

How can I buy some of these bonds?  A common question, unfortunately the bonds were not made available to the general public and the majority of the bonds were purchased, at negotiated sale, by large intuitions such as pension plans and mutual funds.

Has the economic crisis in the banking business affected Vision 2025?  Yes, in both direct and indirect ways.  Directly, sales tax receipts have declined from what was previously strong growth.  Indirectly, there have been many issues such as the financial trustee had to move some funds from one institution to another because of a significant rating downgrade.