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Roads sales tax designed to help metro areas more

POSTED: January 4, 2012 1:00 a.m.

From the Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan 2010-2030, page 6: “People mobility in rural areas and medium-sized cities is well supported by the current network.”

What this means is there will be little or no funds of the transportation sales tax available from the 75 percent going to regional projects for smaller counties in the state until late in the 10-year cycle, if there are any left at all, because “rural areas and medium-sized cities are well supported by the current network.”

Also medium-sized (2016-2019) to large projects (2020-2022) are slated toward the end of the cycle. Smaller projects are slated for 2013-2015. Some large projects will start earlier, but the vast majority are slated to be toward the end of the 10-year sales tax.

Smaller county projects throughout the region will be done at the beginning, cycling up to larger projects later in the 10-year cycle. Folks, this means there is another 10-year tax in the works beginning in 2023 to finish projects started in 2020. This sounds to me like a permanent tax by proxy. The plan itself says 2010-2030.

So let’s look at some of those “small projects:” intersection improvements, hangar doors at a small airport, rehabilitate air carrier and general aviation aprons, sidewalks, etc., yet airport fuels are exempt from the tax. Taxpayers are tired of funding special interests.

So this T-SPLOST is set up for the benefit of metro areas with a large part of the funds coming from smaller counties.

For example, in my Region 2 we have two counties out of 13 that make up 57 percent of the regionwide population. They also make up approximately 56 percent of a 1 percent sales tax. They will also receive the bulk of the projects and, along with two other counties, will receive more than 65 percent of the projects done with the 75 percent due back to the regions.

This is a good deal for the two counties with 57 percent of the population and their vote carries which way the region will vote. It’s not a good deal for the other 11 counties as we will be subsidizing their projects. The counties receiving most of the 75 percent adjoin the major metro areas in their respective region.

Again, “People mobility in rural areas and medium-sized cities is well supported by the current network.” Smaller and out-of-the-way counties get very little for such a huge burden placed on their citizens by a 1 percent T-SPLOST tax.

Counties jeopardize their 100 percent SPLOST tax for a percentage from a T-SPLOST tax. The taxpayers are tired of taxes, particularly in this economy, and if there is a backlash against taxes the SPLOST will go first because the county voters control it, not the region voters. If that backlash occurs, the voters may decide more than one of the optional taxes may need to be stopped.

This can the state has kicked down to the regions is a mess; the regions need to kick it back to the state. The old crutch “it’s only a penny” won’t wash anymore.

Thank you for your community service and keep home rule within the county. 

Vote “no” to T-SPLOST in July.

Mike Sims
Blairsville



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