In our region, local government representatives have done a fairly good job of assembling their list of the most pressing road projects for the transportation special-purpose local option sales tax, and have not fallen into the temptation of expensive, money-loser mass-transit projects that some of the other regions have included.
So what’s the problem? It’s just one more penny – and everybody pays! Let’s look at the five reasons that have moved me over to the “no” column:
• It creates a new layer of government regionally. These tend to never go away and must be fed with continuing tax dollars.
• Columbia and Richmond counties are donor counties. All of our TSPLOST dollars are not staying in our counties.
• Twenty-five percent of this new tax is not specified. County leaders will have a nice little pot of money to be spent on stuff to be named later.
• It doesn’t address corrections needed at the Georgia Department of Transportation. This new tax could raise up to $6 billion over the next 10 years, and it will pass through a department that probably has been one of the most inefficient and wasteful in state government. This tremendous increase in available funds, although mostly designated, will only increase those inefficiencies.
• The tax increase likely will cost more jobs than it creates. How many businesses won’t feel the cost of all their supplies, materials and purchases increasing another 1 percent in this economy? How many families will not notice a 1 percent increase in their household item purchases? Less purchasing power means less business; less business means fewer jobs. This increase will suck money out of the private sector in a time of close margins and, therefore, cost jobs.
We do need significant road improvement across our state, and that will cost significant money. However, don’t fall for the promise that our problems will be fixed if we pass one more tax! I urge you to vote “no” on TSPLOST July 31.
(The writer is a former Georgia state representative and state senator.)