Yet Governor Deal has been very supportive of the T-SPLOST initiative across the state of Georgia, which for most areas, would amount to a tax increase of at least 14% over current sales tax rates. Of course, this new tax would apply to almost every retail purchase throughout the state (except gasoline), including prescriptions and food. It would be the largest tax increase in
Given that the average middle-class family spends tens-of-thousands of dollars in retail purchases every year, the T-SPLOST would add an annual burden of several hundred dollars onto these families. Such an increase is much greater than the increase the additional gas tax that Governor Deal rejected would have added.
Of all of the arguments against this tax increase (and there are plenty), one that I rarely hear is, why is the largest tax increase in
suddenly so necessary for our transportation wellbeing? I mean, how did we ever
fund, build, and maintain road projects prior to T-SPLOST?! As recently as 2010,
the Georgia DOT itself pointed
out that Georgia
has some of the best roads in the country (which PolitiFact rated as “True”). Georgia
Last year, mainstreet.com rated the best roads in the
by state. To analyze a state’s road system, mainstreet used four metrics: poor-condition
mileage (percentage of roads in “poor condition”), bridges, fatalities, and
ranked 10th overall, receiving the top rating in poor-condition
mileage. This was in spite of reports in 2009 by a state auditor and inspector
general that prompted former governor Sonny Perdue to accuse the DOT of
“Enron-like accounting.” Georgia
Now, speaking of the other arguments against the T-SPLOST, one of my favorites is that, though the T-SPLOST is required by law to expire after 10 years, we will, as Kyle Wingfield of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes, “be paying for it, or another tax, for decades.”
As I noted in 2009, often these SPLOSTs result in projects that require spending beyond the funding that SPLOSTs provide. (In the case of the T-SPLOST, this is more accurate for some regions than for others.) Of course, this requires more tax revenue, which means more and larger taxes. When it comes to the T-SPLOST, Wingfield declares, “It’s extremely unlikely that we would spend $2.4 billion on new infrastructure and then shut it down after 10 years. In that respect, the T-SPLOST is very different from a special sales tax for education, after which voters could decide they’ve built enough new schools.”
Another sad consequence of this tax is that it pits taxpayers of one county against those in another. For example, two out of 13 counties in Region 2—Forsyth and Hall—have 58% of the voters. As a sell to
voters, many have deemed Hall a “recipient county,” receiving more money than
it would pay in. It is EXACTLY this kind of thinking that has led to out-of-control
taxes all across Hall County .
For decades, liberals across the
, at the local, state, and
federal level, have been notorious for pitting one voting constituency against
another. As a method of buying votes and clinging to power, generous government
handouts are promised to a particular group at the expense of the ever-shrinking
constituency known as taxpayers. No self-respecting conservative should stoop
to such tactics. U.S.
Also, as a recent Gainesville Times letter writer has noted, and as even liberal columnist Jay Bookman of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution points out, the T-SPLOST ballot language is very misleading. The ballot reads that the proposal “provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight.”
Bookman notes that in a 1974 case, Sears v. State, Georgia’s Supreme Court warned the Legislature against such actions that would “interject its own value judgments concerning the amendments into the ballot language and thus to propagandize the voters in the very voting booth, in denigration of the integrity of the ballot.”
The Court refused to declare such language illegal or unconstitutional. However, even T-SPLOST supporters should agree that such wording is nothing more than marketing language and has no place on an American ballot.
Georgians all across the state have a weak record rejecting any SPLOST. It is time to say enough. Vote NO on the T-SPLOST!