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T-SPLOST is another case of ‘tax creep’

POSTED: September 23, 2011 1:00 a.m.

Regrettably I missed the recent public meeting for the transportation sales tax initiative. Officials say these road and bridge projects could be financed by increasing the sales tax. Adding this 1 percent to the existing sales tax base of 7 percent would increase the tax burden to 8 percent. That is just too much of a premium to pay government over the normal selling price of any commodity, especially food and clothing.

The aggregate total of sales tax from all levels of government should never exceed 5 percent. We are already overtaxed by 2 percent now on basic commodities. And now Hall County and the state want to impose an additional tax for projects that already have a source of revenue. 

Recently voters approved an extension of a SPLOST tax. The argument used to convince voters to extent this tax was simple; it was already in place so why change. In other words you are already paying, so what is the big deal?

Ten years from now, the same argument will be used to extend this new road tax if it is passed. This is tax creep. The government adds 1 percent to your tax burden incrementally year after year, claiming it is just a very small and affordable increase.

This is exactly what happened in New Jersey. And now those good people are taxed at one of the highest rates of any state in the union. They work just to support the ever growing list of “projects” of the state government. 

Every year as my birthday approaches, I receive a bill from the county to renew the registration for my automobile. In addition to the registration fee there is an ad valorem tax. This tax is just on the current value of my automobile.

This type of tax is not imposed on my stereo, bicycle, dishes, flatware or clothing. I am not advocating these items be taxed. I am just pointing out that the ad valorem tax is only on the automobile (a piece of private property). Therefore it would follow that 100 percent of this revenue be used on roads, bridges and tag offices.

In addition, every time my gas gage indicator points to empty I must fill the gas tank to keep on driving. Each gallon of gas is taxed by county, state and federal governments. Therefore one would expect that 100 percent of this revenue would be used for roads and bridges.

So the question is: If revenue collected from a single source (the automobile) is being used 100 percent for roads and bridges, why the need for a new tax? 

SPLOST taxes are like baited fish hooks; once you bite and the hook is set, it’s not coming out. 

Ronald Zaremba
Flowery Branch


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