The Times will not publish letters concerning the upcoming SPLOST election after March 13 to avoid the last minute introduction of issues into the debate that time would not allow to be thoroughly examined. To be confirmed in time for publication, they should be received by Tuesday, March 10.
Letters policy: Send by e-mail to email@example.com; by fax to 770-532-0457; or mail to The Times, P.O. Box 838, Gainesville, GA 30503. Include full name, hometown and phone number. Letters must be confirmed before being considered for publication. They should be limited to one topic on issues of public interest and may be edited for content and length. Letters forwarded from other sources or those involving personal matters, business disputes, poetry, expressions of faith or memorial tributes may be rejected. You may be limited to one letter every two weeks (one per month beginning April 1). Submitted items may be published in print, electronic or other forms. Letters, columns and cartoons express the opinions of the authors and not The Times.
The housing industry is probably more depressed than any segment of our economy in this recession. Taxation and regulation may be the most direct cause of housing industry woes.
When a typical house is built in Hall County, for instance, sales taxes on materials and furnishings cost about $10,000. Impact fees, building permits, water and sewer tap-on fees, etc. add up to $5,000 more. If the house is built in a subdivision, the cost of the zoning hassle, the regulatory hassle and the excessive and expensive setbacks, buffers and detention structures (which by the way are designed to keep as much water as possible out of Lake Lanier) add as much as $10,000 more.
These costs are even greater for businesses. So we are up to approximately $25,000 and we have not even begun to calculate the taxes embedded in the price of the labor and materials used to build the house.
Once there was a man who had a straw hauling business. He used a camel to haul straw. One day, he loaded a huge load of straw on his old faithful camel. He said, "I believe this old camel can carry one more straw." Can you guess which straw broke the camel's back?
Our governments have piled on tax after tax, fee after fee, regulation after regulation, SPLOST after SPLOST. Does this hurt our economy?
Will we reach for moon with our taxes, or just around Earth?
In previous letters, I have stated my opposition to the upcoming SPLOST referendum. Former Lula resident and Iraq veteran Kevin Jarrard has done a good job of outlining specifics of the reasons it should be defeated.
But when you start talking about billions and millions of dollars, I can't seem to get a feel of the hugeness of it all. So coming from an advertising and marketing background, it helps me to put things into a perspective I can visualize.
Starting with the federal Democratic bailout, if the approximately 819 billion dollar bills were placed end to end, they would reach to the moon and back 353 times. (In 1969, when the United States sent the first man to the moon, it is estimated that the total cost was $25 billion.)
Our local government chiefs, perhaps enamored by the Democratic strategy of the current national leadership, has decreed that we should all vote for the local tax plan, which calls for a $240 million sales tax. Using the same formula, 240 million dollar bills placed end to end would reach around the equator of the Earth once.
I believe I now have it in perspective. Go to the moon and back 353 times with national taxpayer money, or go around the world once with local taxpayer money. So I guess I should be relieved that our local SPLOST has such a modest earthbound goal.
Or to put it into an even simpler analogy, its either the "Jack and the Beanstalk" strategy nationally or the "Around the World in 80 Days" local strategy.
When I started writing this letter I thought I had changed my mind and would vote yes for SPLOST, but since I stopped believing in fairy tales some time ago, I think I'll still vote no.
Take a look at what really caused the financial crisis
I checked out a New York Times article from 1999 that predicted the possibility of a financial crisis through Snopes. President Obama likes to blame it on Bush, but this article puts a lot of the blame at the feet of Democrats. Check it out at www.snopes.com/politics/business/easescredit.asp.
Also remember that the Democrats, including Obama, controlled Congress in 2006. Think about that when Obama talks about the failed economic policy that he inherited. As a senator, he was part of the problem.
As for our Georgia congressmen, they were probably not as much of a cause as were the other people mentioned. But I would love their explanation as to why they did not make this potential crisis common public knowledge in Georgia. Isn't that part of their job? Think about that when you look at your 401(k).