Voters sent a loud message to Midland City Council on Saturday. Of 6,781 total votes cast, 54-percent of voters elected to end the city’s 4B sales tax indefinitely.
Midlanders also defeated a tax increase placed on the ballot last fall by MISD, meaning this is the first time in the city’s history that two consecutive ballot initiatives have been rejected.
Saturday’s election was an initiative to continue and repurpose a special-purpose sales tax known as the 4B. The tax was originally approved by voters in 1999 for the sole purpose of building a sports complex in north Midland, known as the Scharbuauer Sports Complex. It was scheduled to sunset this year following the complex’s last payment. City Council, however, hoped to keep and rededicate the quarter-cent tax in order to do a massive overhaul of Midland’s parks, continue to subsidize the Scharbauer Sports Complex, and assist with road maintenance.
The ballot language included a 15-year sunset on the tax and a pay-as-you-go payment structure.
Unlike the original 4B election in 1999, which resulted in a voter turnout of 16,729, only 6,781 voters turned out for the 4B’s second go-around. Of that 6,781 voters, a large majority (4,274) voted early.
Based on conversations leading up to the election, it was clear that for many residents opposing the tax, the debate wasn’t whether the community desired new or updated parks and sports fields, but rather, was this the best time and the best way to go about achieving that?