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Transportation tax collections for Augusta, others lower than expected

Thursday, April 18, 2013 8:16 AM
Last updated Friday, April 19, 2013 1:29 AM
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ATLANTA — Collections so far for the three regions that approved a transportation sales tax have been 18 percent lower than predicted, the state Department of Transportation reported Wednesday.

Still, the agency gave the go-ahead to the first project funded by the tax that voters in 46 counties approved in July. The lead-off project is a $161,000 road repaving by the Toombs County government.

“It’s kind of a milestone for us,” said Mike Dover, the department’s administrator over the tax-funded projects.

When he said that to the state Transportation Board, mild applause broke out. In July, the first round of contracts will be let to the lowest bidders.

Voters in the Augusta, Columbus and Vidalia-Jesup regions agreed to pay an extra 1 percent on their purchases for 10 years or until $1.8 billion is raised. The Augusta region’s share will be $841 million for 84 projects agreed to by a regional panel and whatever local officials decide to fund with the city’s share of the 25 percent of collections that are undesignated.

In January and February, the Augusta region collected $9 million, sending $2.25 million in undesignated money to the counties.

Dover suggested that the weak collections were startup-related because it took some retailers awhile to realize they had to boost the tax rate and because smaller merchants that submit the tax quarterly will not have had to make their first payments. The March figures are not yet available.

“The good news is they’re trending upward,” he told the board.

Board member Don Grantham, of Augusta, said as work begins on the projects, voters who rejected the tax are likely to change their mind.

“A lot of people are seeing the things that we knew would happen,” he said.

Dover told the board that the DOT would contract with a university to track the economic impact of the tax but not the number of jobs created to complete the projects. Several board members bristled at that.

“If it wasn’t in the field, those jobs wouldn’t exist,” member Sam Wellborn said. “I think you ought to keep track of it.”

Grantham said proponents of the tax had predicted that if it passed statewide, 27,000 jobs would result.

“I think it’s important that we follow that to show we’re living up to our prediction,” he said. “A lot of people doubted that.”

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David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 04/18/13 - 08:27 am
4
0
Not all voters

"Voters in the Augusta, Columbus and Vidalia-Jessup regions agreed to pay an extra 1 percent on their purchases for 10 years or until $1.8 billion is raised."

How is it behind schedule if you leave it open-ended?

"until $1.8 billion is raise."

You're 82% to your goal by my count and right on schedule. I'll Amazon my purchases and do without before playing ball thank you.

Little Lamb
47011
Points
Little Lamb 04/18/13 - 08:29 am
8
1
Don't Trust Don Grantham

Those "job creation" numbers are swags at best and are deliberately padded to tell a rosy story at worst. Just look at the dollars and forget the made up jobs numbers.

One needs to read the works of Frederick Bastiat and/or Henry Hazlitt to see how bogus this "economic impact" thing is. The fact is that the money that goes into the road-building from TSPLOST collections is money that came out of people’s pockets. If it were not spent on roads, it would be spent on things that the people chose for themselves. THAT money would have created jobs, but they would be jobs in industries other than road construction.

Every job that Dandy Don Grantham tells you was "created" by TSPLOST is accompanied by another job "not created" by TSPLOST. You just don't see the job not created.

Google "broken window fallacy" if you'd like more details on the concept.

nocnoc
45088
Points
nocnoc 04/18/13 - 08:39 am
4
0
We need to keep a very close eye on

the city’s share of the 25 percent of collections that are undesignated.

Little Lamb
47011
Points
Little Lamb 04/18/13 - 08:47 am
5
0
Undesignated

It will all go into the bus system rat hole, nocnoc.

But, hey, South Augustans can at least ride the buses downtown to view their property tax dollars at work.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 04/18/13 - 09:18 am
5
1
north augusta is an option
Unpublished

I am making all major purchases across the river and I can't wait until the roads in Augusta show improvements so my ride to SC in a lot smoother and less stressful on my vehicle. I just sold a vehicle that I used occasionly, but every year I paid tax and tag on it, but I will not have to pay anymore tax on it for our spend, spend, spend commissioners, especially mason jar, that thinks there is no end to funds. Richmond county is a joke when it comes to tax breaks for the property owners. Watch in the future, hen trash pickup goes to once a week, but no reduction in fees for the property owners, which in essence is a 100% increase in taxes. Now mason proposes increasing bus routes for the ten people that ride buses. This is the representation to the taxpayers, the commissioners could care less about your taxes and the attitude is if you don't like it move to another county. OK, that is what I am working on, the problem is selling my house in Richmond county because everyone sees the same thing I see.

Riverman1
87036
Points
Riverman1 04/18/13 - 09:36 am
6
0
As LL is saying, when you

As LL is saying, when you take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the private economy, you are doing yourself no favor.

itsanotherday1
45482
Points
itsanotherday1 04/18/13 - 10:03 am
4
0
Common sense is not so common

Common sense is not so common is it RM and LL?

dichotomy
34491
Points
dichotomy 04/18/13 - 10:07 am
4
2
Exactly LL. No government

Exactly LL. No government program creates jobs. If the government takes money from people to "create" jobs somewhere, you are killing as many or more jobs somewhere else in the private sector and losing the sales taxes from those private businesses.. And we ALL know the inflated costs and waste in government road building contracts and whose buddies usually get those contracts. There is a finite amount of disposable income and the government is gobbling it up rapidly in taxes and fees. It is time to put a stop to it.

It is a fact.....EVERYTHING IS CHEAPER IN NORTH AUGUSTA and the lower price of gas makes the drive worth it. I know they won't miss my little bit of sales tax money but I will resist feeding the tax monster at every turn. I'll let the fools who voted for this thing pay for it. There is no shopping in South Augusta anyway so it actually makes sense to cross the river......and it's safer than the parking lots at the mall or local grocery and hardware stores.

Dixieman
15999
Points
Dixieman 04/18/13 - 10:09 am
5
0
Duh.

If you subsidize something, you will get more of it.
If you tax something, you will get less of it.
We live pretty close to places in Georgia and all of South Carolina where the tax is 7% rather than 8%. And gas is cheaper in SC. Is it any wonder people are shopping elsewhere?
Only politicians are stupid enough to think that raising sales taxes in one area will not cause a decline in sales there!

Riverman1
87036
Points
Riverman1 04/18/13 - 10:25 am
7
0
$841 Yearly Increase of Taxes

Another way to look at this. The average family of four in the district will pay $841 more in taxes a year. That's a hefty local tax.

Oh, what about the deal that the state would give the districts who approved the tax increased contributions? Of course legislators are trying to get out of that now.

Lastly, to follow Don Grantham's thought to the logical conclusion we should simply give government all our money and let it create the jobs and decide how to spend. Just think we could create as many jobs as we need. It's so easy.

grinder48
2017
Points
grinder48 04/18/13 - 10:38 am
0
0
Shop SC
Unpublished

I live in Augusta and have started shopping in SC whenever possible to avoid this redistribution tax.

Little Lamb
47011
Points
Little Lamb 04/18/13 - 10:43 am
5
0
Carrot

The way the TSPLOST law was crafted, the regions that supported it were supposed to get a higher percentage of DOT (state) money for DOT projects than regions that rejected TSPLOST. I'm sure it's a bit complicated.

Anyway, in the last General Assembly, some lawmakers from regions that rejected TSPLOST introduced a bill to undo that provision so that all DOT projects would have the same state/local split. As I understand it, that bill failed (I think it never even made it out of committee). I am glad that fair-minded lawmakers saw the injustice of that proposed law.

Little Lamb
47011
Points
Little Lamb 04/18/13 - 11:51 am
3
0
TSD

At 11:51 there are 11 comments and only one (my 8:29) has a thumbs down. Do you reckon Dandy Don logged in?

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 04/18/13 - 01:00 pm
3
0
I wish everyone could read

I can't believe people voted yes, can't they read? Haven't they learned anything from SPLOST? This ain't where welfare and free phones come from. I agree with DICHOTOMY!!!!!!!!!!!

countyman
20627
Points
countyman 04/18/13 - 01:30 pm
1
4
Dickworth1. Why single out

Dickworth1. Why single out Richmond County when the T-Splost covers multiple counties in the CSRA?

Dichotomy.... There's more shopping in South Augusta compared to North Augusta.

Little Lamb
47011
Points
Little Lamb 04/18/13 - 01:44 pm
3
0
Shopping

Maybe so, but it's more costly in south Augusta compared with North Augusta.

Little Lamb
47011
Points
Little Lamb 04/18/13 - 02:16 pm
3
0
Fraud

Augusta Resident asked:

I can't believe people voted yes [on the TSPLOST referendum ballot], can't they read?

In Richmond County (maybe in others, too, but I can only attest to Richmond County) the electronic ballots were modified such that they did not include the entire ballot question. They omitted the word "tax." That's right, the word tax did not appear anywhere in the ballot question.

Now the paper absentee ballots were printed correctly. But if you used the electronic ballot in Richmond County all you got was something like "to promote better roads, economic activity, and public safety." In my opinion it was illegal to word a ballot that way.

countyman
20627
Points
countyman 04/18/13 - 04:02 pm
2
3
Cost

The next large commercial development in North Augusta is the Walmart shopping center. I'm not against the Walmart, but I would have though exit 5 could attract something better(Target). The retail developers obviously don't see any huge benefits.

I would also like to mention how viable public transportation systems attract new companies, people, businesses, etc.

The daily number of riders can easily increase from around 3,000 to over 5,000 people. Connect the CBD, Medical District, Fort Gordon, Augusta Exchange, Augusta Regional, and the jobs on Mike Padgett/Hwy 56 up to Tobacco rd.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 04/18/13 - 04:06 pm
1
0
Don't get me started on the

Don't get me started on the Walmarts /: - |

nocnoc
45088
Points
nocnoc 04/18/13 - 04:48 pm
3
0
Augusta is on to the TSPLOST

many are driving across the stateline.
Cheaper gas, lower taxes and easier people to deal with.

Augusta resident
1368
Points
Augusta resident 04/18/13 - 07:32 pm
2
1
VaR

I'd rather have a Bass Pro Shops rather than a Costco.

Little Lamb
47011
Points
Little Lamb 04/18/13 - 10:28 pm
1
0
Dead for now

Reporter Walter Jones wrote:

Still, the agency gave the go-ahead to the first project funded by the tax that voters in 46 counties approved in July. The lead-off project is a $161,000 road repaving by the Toombs County government.

This thread will lie dormant until the first money hits Columbia County or Richmond County. Then we can start again.

nocnoc
45088
Points
nocnoc 04/19/13 - 07:08 am
1
0
A bigger question

Since so many projects like Hwy56 safety fixes were already funded, will the politico's try to deceive us into believing this is where TSPLOST is being used and slide funding around?

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