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Opinion: Government doesn’t need to grow with SPLOST
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The Hall County Government Center, pictured on March 30, 2018, at 2875 Browns Bridge Road. - photo by Nick Bowman

What a great question. Who will decide how Hall County grows? The residents must vote on this matter.

Growth is good, but how much do we want? Hall is growing, partially due to people leaving Gwinnett County’s growth. Before that, people moved into Gwinnett because DeKalb and Fulton counties had become too congested. Do you see a pattern here? This is insanity and not sustainable.  

The first step in stopping the insanity is to vote yourself a 16.6% tax cut and vote “no” for the upcoming Nov. 5 SPLOST vote. Not voting is not effective; you must vote “no.”  

How does a one cent additional tax work out to a 16.6% increase? Easy, when SPLOST VII ends, the sales tax rate will be 6%. If SPLOST VIII is passed, the rate is 7%. That 1% increase is 1/6 of the original 6%, or 16.6% of the original rate.

Voting “no” is actually a twofer. You get an immediate tax cut. And, your commissioners won’t tell you, next year they are raising your real estate tax. This is in order to properly staff all the fun sounding things they purchased with the SPLOST money. SPLOST money by law must be used on capital expenses.

Hall is setting aside millions for “building renovations and improvements; including roof replacements, HVAC replacements, energy upgrades, and related projects.” Some of that work will be done at the Hall County Government Center, which Hall County doesn’t even own.

Voting for the SPLOST is like you giving your child $100 after they misspent their $2 weekly allowance all year.

The SPLOST tax alone is a great example of what government does best: growth. 

SPLOST I in 1985 allowed for about $800,000 per month in spending. SPLOST VIII is projected to yield about $3,000,000 per month. This is a 57% increase over the yield of SPLOST VII ($1.9 million vs. $3 million per month). 

Has the population in Hall County increased by 57% in five years? 

Looking at this another way. The population in Hall County has increased by a factor of 2.4 times from 1985 to 2019. The 1985 SPLOST was $800,000, 2.4x800,000=$1,920,000 as the value of an equal SPLOST tax today. Yet SPLOST VIII is projected at $3,000,000 per month. I would call that high by $1,800,000 based on population growth. That government is growing right under your nose. Government needs to live within its means, as every citizen in Hall County does.  

You have the voting power to end the insanity. All you must do is vote “no.” 

Bill Oberholtzer

Gainesville

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