In the beginning, Georgia had a 3 percent sales tax with food exempted. One day, the Ultimate Power that controls the state of Georgia said, “I need more,” and soon Georgia counties were allowed a local option sales tax. The LOST was sold as a reduction in property taxes. The state kept 3 percent of the collections.
And the Ultimate Power then said, “I need more,” and the state and local chambers of commerce said, “We will help you get more.” And counties were allowed special purpose local option sales taxes for roads, streets and bridges.
Soon the chambers were telling us, “It is just a penny,” that can build much needed attractions and new courthouses. Food was not exempted and the state kept 3 percent of the collections.
The Ultimate Power one day demanded, “I need more,” and SPLOSTs were sold by the schools for construction. Some counties and municipalities, aided by the chambers of commerce, sold SPLOSTs for water and sewer. Food was not exempted and the state kept 3 percent of the collections.
The Ultimate Power now tells us, “It is not enough.” Another SPLOST is created and is called T-SPLOST, a transportation special purpose local option sales tax. The chambers of commerce pledge $5 million to $6 million to sell T-SPLOST. Food is not exempted and the state will keep 3 percent of the collections.
But the people of Georgia say, “Wait a minute. T-SPLOST is not a local option, it is a regional option, and the Department of Transportation will penalize whole regions that say ‘no’ by charging those regions more for roads, streets and bridges. Isn’t that blackmail?”
And some Georgians say, “If we say ‘yes,’ we will be paying 8 to 9 percent of our disposable income in sales taxes.”
And in July 2012, the people of Georgia went to the polls and told the Ultimate Power, “We have had enough,” and said “no” to T-SPLOST.
Your “no” vote will make this story have a happy ending.
Bruce W. Hallowell