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Opinion: SPLOST is a shell game for government budget
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A Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax sign is posted March 10, 2018, at the Splash Pad at Laurel Park. The area was renovated in 2017. - photo by David Barnes

In the past two weeks, there have been several letters to The Times extolling the virtues of SPLOST and describing the projects as "vital", "critical," and "essential."  

If these projects are indeed vital, critical and essential, why aren't they in the baseline budget?  There is nothing "special" about any of the projects. They are routine infrastructure needs faced by virtually every municipality.  

If they really are "have tos" instead of "want tos", they should easily be able to out prioritize less important line items.   

SPLOST is nothing more than a budgetary shell game.  Politicians love it because it lets them off the hook of having to make tough budgetary choices.  It allows them to disguise a lot of "want tos" in the baseline budget, then cry "special" for the “have tos.”  

They have used this scam for 33 years, don't let them get away with it again. If Hall County needs to rely on visitors paying sales taxes to fund our "special" needs, then they probably aren't needed at all.  Think "slush fund."

Tom Reiter

Gainesville

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