Are Georgia Republicans attempting to pull a fast one on the citizens of the state with the transportation special-purpose local option sales tax?
With all of the complaining Republicans have made against our president about raising taxes during these difficult economic times, why are our state Republicans attempting to do the same? And why are they acting like Nancy Pelosi in regard to the facts of TSPLOST? Must we pass the bill to know what’s in it?
DURING THE NAACP forum July 23, Georgia Department of Transportation Board Member Don Grantham insisted that food would be exempt from this tax. However, the fact is that it is not exempt. (House Bill 277, lines 440 and 441). In fact it specifically states:
“The tax imposed pursuant to this article shall only be levied on the first $5,000.00 of any transaction involving the sale or lease of a motor vehicle. The tax imposed pursuant to this article shall be subject to any sales and use tax exemption which is otherwise imposed by law; provided; however, that the tax levied by this article shall be applicable to the sale of food and beverages as provided for in division (57)(D)(i) of Code Section 48-8-3.”
WHY ARE CAR sales exempt after the first $5,000, while our food is taxed 100 percent? Seems as if luxury items are more important than necessities.
Furthermore, Georgia already has a gasoline tax of 7.5 cents, including state (4 percent) and local (3 percent) sales taxes per dollar for a total of about 29.2 cents per gallon, depending on gas price. Let’s compare this to our South Carolina neighbors at 16.8 cents per gallon. If we add another 1 percent, we will be closer to 33 cents per gallon – twice that of our South Carolina neighbors.
This clearly shows me that we don’t have a revenue shortage; we have a spending addiction.
One Republican official told me that this keeps local control over the funds. If that is the case, why does the first 15 percent of these funds stay in Atlanta?
Furthermore, of the funds collected in Augusta, we are giving more than $62.5 million to other counties. Yes, I know they shop in Augusta, but we provide the roads and bus routes for all the employees in these stores and should keep our funds to take care of our county.
THIS LOOKS more and more like the stimulus plan that was sold by our president with assurances the unemployment rate would stay below 8 percent. The TSPLOST bill was even craftily worded on the ballot, as “Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight.”
Looks like the Republicans are putting lipstick on a pig with this vote.
Please join me in voting “no” Tuesday, so we can stop the largest tax in our state’s history.
(The writer is District 3 commissioner for Augusta.)