Pros and cons of special purpose local option sales tax

Saturday, March 3, 2012 6:21 PM
Last updated 8:00 PM
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Richmond County voters will decide Tuesday whether to pass Phase IV of the special purpose local option sales tax, which would fund $130 million in projects approved by the Board of Education.


• You have been paying a 1-cent sales tax for school capital projects since 1997. This would just be a continuation of that tax.

• It’s not just about construction. The sales tax money buys technology for all Richmond County schools. It also pays to repair and buy buses and help with transportation costs.

• Everyone pays. Because it’s a sales tax, people who don’t pay property tax or income taxes still contribute to the sales tax when they make purchases. That is also true for people who don’t live in Richmond County but shop here.

• It would improve schools. Benton Starks, the county school system’s facilities director, said his department would have no other way to build buildings and pay for renovations to schools without the tax.

“If the SPLOST doesn’t pass, schools as we know it would change drastically,” Starks said. “That’s what’s been keeping us afloat all these years.”

• The tax controls maintenance costs at schools. The tax money pays to replace and repair roofs and HVAC units. Without the tax, the facilities department would run out of money in its budget for repairs. The money would most likely have to come out of the district’s general fund, which pays for operating expenses such as teacher salaries.


A tax is a tax. The sales tax adds 1 cent to all purchases. Richmond County Republican Committee Chairman Bob Finnegan said there is a section of residents who “are tired of being 1-cented to death.” In the summer, they will vote on another 1-cent tax, the transportation special purpose local option sales tax, which funds transportation projects and roads.

“Nobody wants to deny the schools anything they absolutely positively need, but then again, they have a significant budget,” Finnegan said. “To turn around and ask for more when they’re cutting jobs – I can see why some would be against that.”

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DuhJudge 03/03/12 - 09:10 pm
What? The sales tax adds

What? The sales tax adds 1cent to all purchases? adds 1 percent to all purchases. In Augusta, there are three 1% sales taxes. A local option tax, a SPLOST, and an education tax. Those three taxes go with the 4% state sales tax. That makes 7% that gets added to everything you purchase except for most foods. You still pay the 3% sales tax on food. But if you vote to keep these taxes, then do not travel to South Carolina for lower prices. The price difference is because of the sales taxes that you voted to keep.

cozzster 03/04/12 - 06:58 am
lol stop whining about sales

lol stop whining about sales tax...maybe if the south wasn't chock full of state mooching baby mama's and dad's, there would be enough money to go around

dichotomy 03/04/12 - 10:44 am
All of these extra "penny"

All of these extra "penny" taxes are nothing more than an admission that they have mismanaged, wasted, and "giveaway programmed" the money we ALREADY give them and are coming back to the slop trough for more.

Local Option Sales Tax......hey commissioners, what did you do with the 50% of my property taxes you already forcibly take from me?

School Sales Tax.........hey RCBOE, what did you do with the other 50% of the property taxes you already forcibly take from me?

SPLOST........most of these projects and non-profit giveaways are things the taxpayers should not be funding in the first place. It's not my job to fund Paul's buildings, the arts, or church community programs and roofs for private organizations.

Transportation SPLOST (TSPLOST)......hey state and local government, what did you do with the State Income Taxes, State Gasoline Taxes, and RC Property Taxes that you forcibly take from me and that were supposed to be used to do these road projects?

State Sales Tax.....the original rip-off.......First is was "okay, we are going to take 6% of everything you make when you work" and then it's "oh by the way, we are ALSO going to take 4% of everything you spend". And just to make things interesting that also tax 12.9 cents per gallon on every gallon of gas you buy. THAT 12.9 cents IS SUPPOSED to be building and maintaining the roads for which they are now asking for TSPLOST.


They want the school sales tax and they are mismanaging the last SPLOST and they are already talking about RAISING PROPERTY TAXES.

This is clearly a case of how stupid are we and how long we will remain so stupid? IT'S NOT OUR JOB TO PAY TWICE FOR THOSE THINGS FOR WHICH WE HAVE ALREADY PAID. It's THEIR job to live within the already oppressive base taxes we already pay.

My message to local and state politicians, school boards, and county administrators is this: LIVE WITHIN THE BASE TAXES WE ALREADY PAY OR THROW UP YOUR HANDS AND QUIT AND GO HOME. If you can't do it then we will get someone who can. We pay plenty of taxes already. You people squander that money. We are tired of you. It's called a budget...get one that lives withing existing base taxes. You want more sales taxes? Then do away with the income tax, property tax, and gasoline tax. Do everything on sales taxes. But quit biting me in the butt on both cheeks. Everywhere I look there is a government man standing there to take my money when I get and another one the other side waiting to take my money when I spend it. I'm tired of it.


Little Lamb
Little Lamb 03/04/12 - 02:07 pm
We are being pennied to death

We are being pennied to death — and DuhJudge is correct to be incensed about calling this a penny tax. There are citizens in this community who, through no fault of their own, might actually believe this nonsense propaganda put out that the tax is “just a penny.”

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent; please ask for the ballot of your choice on Tuesday and vote NO! on the SPLOST tax.

Look on the bright side, your sales taxes would actually go down. You would be paying 7% in Columbia Co., 7% in Burke Co., but only 6% in Richmond Co. if this tax referendum is defeated.

DuhJudge 03/04/12 - 02:37 pm
Dichotomy- there is another

Dichotomy- there is another gas tax you left out. It is the First Motor Fuel Tax and is another 7.5¢ per gallon. This is the tax that allows the D.O.T. to do its job without depending on the legislature. It is why we have some of the best roads in the country. The state and local taxes are : 7.5 + 12.1 + 9.099 = 28.699 cents per gallon. South Carolina charges only 16¢ per gallon. They do not add a sales tax to gasoline. But as I said, if you live in Georgia then buy your gas in Georgia. Especially if you vote for those taxes.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 03/05/12 - 09:39 am
Today is Monday. Tomorrow is

Today is Monday. Tomorrow is election day in Georgia. If you are a registered voter in Richmond County, please vote NO! on this SPLOST referendum tomorrow.

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