The state of Georgia through our General Assembly and governor is asking the voters of all Georgia counties to vote on a transportation 1 percent sales tax called a T-SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) in July 2012.
This 1 percent sales tax is in addition to other 1 percent sales taxes counties already have in place.
Most counties have a 1 percent E-LOST, a 1 percent SPLOST, and a 1 percent LOST.
The E-LOST (Education Local Option Sales Tax) is a special tax for local school systems to improve infrastructure within their county. The SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) is a special tax for local county government to improve infrastructure within their county.
The LOST (Local Option Sales Tax) is a special tax to alleviate property taxes within the county, i.e. allows a reduction in the millage rate. (Editor’s Note: Cherokee County does not have a LOST)
Now, the state of Georgia wants voters to approve a 1 percent sales tax for roads and bridges and other infrastructure that falls under the Georgia Department of Transportation’s purview.
This would bring to four, the number of 1 percent optional sales taxes placed on citizens.
Counties using the SPLOST get to keep all the monies collected from this tax to benefit the needs of their county. This tax can, and most often is, used to improve roads and bridges and other needs of the county.
Under the T-SPLOST rules, counties are only allowed to share 25 percent of the tax collected within their region of counties to be used within their respective counties.
The other 75 percent goes to GDOT to use wherever the state decides within the region, and there is a need for improvement bound by the constrained lists. This is usually in heavily populated areas where there are heavy traffic patterns.
This is a discriminatory tax pitting larger counties against smaller counties. Larger counties getting the bigger piece of the 75 percent that GDOT controls from the tax collected.
Our counties have a SPLOST we can use for improvement, and we keep 100 percent of it. We don’t need a T-SPLOST tax for the GDOT to mismanage as they have mismanaged funds so badly in the past.
This T-SPLOST is being put to the voters because our elected officials have failed in their duties to provide a budget and make a decision on how best to spend our tax dollars. And now they are asking the voters to make a choice about a 1 percent sales tax to increase the revenue needed for road and bridge improvements.
This is a bad tax for the citizens. I ask you to send our legislators back to Atlanta to make a right decision and do what we pay them for, and that is to make hard decisions based on equality of taxation. This tax hurts the poor the worst and there is no food exemption for this tax.
Mike Sims, Blairsville