Letters policy: Send by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (no attached files, please, which can contain viruses); fax to 770-532-0457; mail to The Times, P.O. Box 838, Gainesville, GA 30503; or click HERE for a form. Include full name, hometown and phone number for confirmation. They should be limited to one topic on issues of public interest and may be edited for content and length (limit of 500 words). Letters originating from other sources, those involving personal, business or legal disputes, poetry, expressions of faith or memorial tributes may be rejected. You may be limited to one letter per month, two on a single topic. Submitted items may be published in print, electronic or other forms. Letters, columns and cartoons express the opinions of the authors and not of The Times editorial board.
Why I am voting against SPLOST on March 15?
1. I prefer a sales tax to a property tax, but this is not the time for any new tax. Proposing a new SPLOST with thousands of our citizens out of work and others with substantially reduced income is being insensitive and ignoring of their plight.
The current SPLOST is for specific purposes for a specific time. When it expires in 2010, it becomes history. The SPLOST proposed now is for different purposes for a different time. It is the same kind of tax but it is a new tax.
2. A special election, at a cost of at least $50,000 or more, is a waste of money and is very irresponsible. We have not had a shortage of elections. How many did we have last year?
They will tell you that the cost of the election is in their budget, as if it is their money instead of ours. The only reason I can think they want a special election is that they know there will be low turnout and the chances of it passing is improved. Elections should be designed to get the largest participation possible, that is if you want to know the will of the people.
3. We are being held hostage by the Buford School System. In order to have a SPLOST vote, all the school systems in the county must agree. The proceeds of the tax are distributed to Hall County and Gainesville based on their student enrollment.
Not so with Buford. It gets more per student and gets its portion regardless of collections. It is time to tell Buford to play fair or we will not play at all.
4. Much of the funds in this SPLOST are for maintenance and other items which should be budgeted items. This is fine, but there should be a pledge that there will not be an increase in property tax for schools during the period for the SPLOST. I have not heard of any such pledge.
5. We need to send a message that when we approve a SPLOST, it is for a definite time and it is not permanent. When we approve one, we never seem to be able to get rid of it.
This may be the way to fund schools, but this is not the year to do it.