On July 31 we will be asked to vote on a proposed transportation improvements special purpose local option sales tax that would add 1 percent sales tax for 10 years. When you vote, please consider this:
• We already pay 29.9 cents in Georgia and federal road taxes per gallon of gasoline
• This $841 million TSPLOST would be in addition to the existing 1 percent transportation sales tax.
• This proposed TSPLOST is a 33 percent increase in our county sales tax.
This tax is planned to be permanent, regardless of how it’s packaged. This proposed TSPLOST is planned to support ongoing expenses, not just one-time projects. For instance, the funds would go to Augusta Public Transit operations and maintenance. We can’t fund long-term maintenance and operations with a “temporary” tax.
The county has used our tax dollars, county resources and avenues available only to it to promote its agenda. The changeable message boards on the roadside calling for “yes” votes on the measure appear to be paid for with our tax dollars, and are on highway rights-of-way. The newsletters that arrive with my water bill tout the benefits of this new TSPLOST. No political candidate can use these methods to propose their position, nor can those who oppose the new TSPLOST.
It also causes some concern that the ones promoting, requesting and receiving the benefits will be the ones counting the ballots.
The recent projects in our area have transformed roads and intersections into mini versions of Atlanta. The Interstate 20 and Wheeler Road modifications are prime examples. The county would be better served by living within its means – its current budget – as we taxpayers do, making changes that give the greatest benefit for the lowest cost, rather than asking for a 25 percent raise and turning our tree-lined roadways into a giant slab of concrete.
Vote “no” July 31.