TSPLOST questions linger

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I want to learn more about the transportation special-purpose local option sales tax before I vote on it in July. At this point I do not plan to vote for a tax increase to fund transportation projects that I am already paying for with my gas tax.


I have spoken to TSPLOST supporters and asked several questions. So far, I have not heard any logical reason to vote to support a sales tax increase. The following are my questions that need to be answered before I can support a new tax that is redundant.

• Have you ever heard of a tax going away? Once voters pass an additional 1-cent sales tax (TSPLOST), we all know it will somehow become a permanent tax. The supporters of TSPLOST say it’s a great way to raise funds because the tourists will help pay toward our transportation projects. The fact is, I will be paying higher tax every time I purchase anything, and I am not a tourist – I live here.

• I have been told by TSPLOST supporters that all of the projects included in the regional TSPLOST projects list already were included on the Georgia Department of Transportation’s long-term projects list. If the DOT had programmed these projects for the future, but they are now funded with a new TSPLOST tax, what will happen to fuel taxes collected that the DOT controls? I am left to assume it will only add to the inefficiency and wasteful spending of taxpayers’ funds for more political projects. Local elected representatives tell me this is a new idea that nobody has discussed with them.

• Given the fractured nature of the regional TSPLOST program, how will Georgia make progress on inter-regional transit projects such as commuter and intercity rail? How will Atlanta operate and maintain the new transit that will be built when Atlanta’s current funding regulations are such that it cannot fund the existing MARTA system at an acceptable level?

While we do not have locally the population density in Augusta to support light rail, we should at least connect Fort Gordon and Augusta with public bus service. That connecting route currently does not exist.

• Why should we pass a new transportation tax when so much of the current gas tax we pay goes directly into the Georgia General Fund to fund political interests and not transportation needs? Tax issues in Georgia are a mess, and a new sales tax will only make this bad situation worse.

I am still listening and open to learn how this new tax could possibly, in some way, benefit the public.

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Riverman1
111588
Points
Riverman1 06/15/12 - 04:47 am
10
0
My questions in addition to

My questions in addition to those raised in the letter are the size of the increase in sales tax. It's about 14%. Plus the fact another level of regional government is being created that takes control from the counties.

PatriotNurse
10
Points
PatriotNurse 06/15/12 - 07:08 am
8
3
TSPLOST and UN Agenda 21

I'd like to learn more about the link between the UN's Agenda 21 and the TSPLOST program in Georgia. I've read in many places that these TSPLOST projects are part of this UN plan that undermines US sovereignity in the name of "sustainable development", social justice, redistribution of property and wealth, etc. Most media outlets, for whatever reason, choose not to inform the public about this plan or it's link with the planned TSPLOST projects.
The Alabama legislature unanimously passed a bill, which prohibits the taking of private property without due process in an effort to block the George Soros backed UN plan. I would love to see the Georgia legislature do the same.

eb97
836
Points
eb97 06/15/12 - 08:32 am
5
1
Dead in the water

From what I have read and those I have spoken with, this tax is dead in the water because questions like the ones presented can not be answered truthfully.

Conservative Man
5611
Points
Conservative Man 06/15/12 - 08:42 am
8
1
Instead of a new tax...

Instead of a new tax how about government do a better job of handling the revenues they already have? And I agree with Mr. Booher. When was the lsat time you heard of a tax being repealed?
As to the Agenda 21 thing. I've done research on that mandate and I could be wrong but it doesn't specifically address TSPLOST's but it DOES infringe upon private property rights under the guise of "sustainable development".

allhans
25529
Points
allhans 06/15/12 - 09:02 am
8
0
I think Richmond County has

I think Richmond County has to do a better job with the funds they have now, before asking for more. I hear that every place I go.
So many don't like what they hear and see. People have no confidence in politicians (or in many cases the media) and for too many, pennies are hard to come by..

avidreader
3928
Points
avidreader 06/15/12 - 09:33 am
9
0
A Can of Worms

I thoroughly agree with Mr. Booher. As a community, we need to hold our government responsible for providing transparent, frank explanations about the details of option-tax expenditures. EVERY DETAIL!! Mostly, the taxpayers are treated like children -- we can't possibly be bothered with sophisticated numbers and must be sheltered from the truth. The powers-that-be are wrong. We can count and we can read and we can analyze. I guess they're afraid that nothing can be acheived if the public knows the truth.

As of now, I vote "NO"!

southernguy08
569
Points
southernguy08 06/15/12 - 10:04 am
0
0
SOAPY
Unpublished

Great post! Does anybody even think about what Obama is spending in travel alone for these "fundraisers?" He has plenty of time for this. I just wonder how he can manage to fit silly little things like...I don't know, being president, into his fundraising schedule. BTW, all of this fundraising travel on AF1 is, of course, being paid for by, who else, Joe Taxpayer. Reminds me of the song, "Nice work if you can get it. And if you get it, won't you tell me howwwww?"

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 06/15/12 - 10:12 am
1
0
Fool
Unpublished

Only a fool would vote yes.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 06/15/12 - 10:13 am
1
0
I nominate Sam Booher to
Unpublished

I nominate Sam Booher to replace the entire Chronicle Editorial Staff. Thoughtful, agenda-free deliberations like his would soon salvage the Chronicle's laughingstock reputation and reinvent a readership.

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 06/15/12 - 10:23 am
10
0
Another question...

The TSPLOST is just a fancy smancy way of saying sales tax.

Does that mean when I buy gas that I will paying an additional tax to cover the decline in revenues from another gas tax?

By the way, it's just 1 cent, but how many 1 cent taxes do we already have? We have SPLOST for the city and ELOST for the school system.

dichotomy
43343
Points
dichotomy 06/15/12 - 10:52 am
10
0
TSPLOST is just another money

TSPLOST is just another money grab. They have mismanaged the NUMEROUS taxes we already pay and they are coming back to the trough and grunting for MORE slop. Don't get me wrong. I wish we paid for everything with sales taxes. But...don't take my money for state income tax, gasoline tax, property tax, ad volrem tax, other taxes I can't even think of, and come back and tell me "oh, we spent it all around Atlanta so if you want your roads and bridges fixed we need another tax". And please people, do not buy into their "the trourists will pay for fixing our roads". The tourists will not be spending their money down at Walmart trying to pinch pennies. YOU will be down at Walmart trying to save those extra "pennies", that's multiple pennies, that you gave up with all of these SPLOSTs. And what have you gotten for those pennies. NOTHING. A few shiney new schools that have NOT improved education at all. And Paul got a nice new connected addition to his hotel and a parking deck to go with it. But you got nothing but the bill and you probably will not get anything with TSPLOST either. All of these SPLOSTs are scams to make you voluntarily give up more money to do the things they should have been doing with the taxes they already get. They don't get done because of fraud, waste, abuse, disproportionate allocation, and mismanagement but the pigs keep coming back to the trough and grunting.

allhans
25529
Points
allhans 06/15/12 - 11:14 am
7
0
Many Thanks, dichotomy, for

Many Thanks, dichotomy, for the ammunition, I was all out.

harley_52
30857
Points
harley_52 06/15/12 - 11:22 am
8
0
Great letter Sam. I'll wait

Great letter Sam. I'll wait for good answers to your questions before I even think of voting FOR the TSPLOST

madgerman
236
Points
madgerman 06/15/12 - 11:42 am
0
0
The writer forgot to mention
Unpublished

The writer forgot to mention that we in the CSRA get to keep 25%of collections for local projects and the rest goes to Atlanta to support their obviously greater need. But in any event, we voters have a perfect track record of passing any SPLOST presented and this should be no different.

Carleton Duvall
6309
Points
Carleton Duvall 06/15/12 - 11:48 am
9
0
TSPLOST

This one is a no brainer. This is not the time to increase taxes. Use what you have already and then quit.

DMPerryJr
1698
Points
DMPerryJr 06/15/12 - 12:51 pm
8
0
Tax? Just say No!

The answer is always no.

"Use what you have and then quit." - Carleton Duvall

Seems simple enough.

Retired Army
17513
Points
Retired Army 06/15/12 - 01:51 pm
4
7
Well, with these tax a spend

Well, with these tax a spend Republicans in charge of the state of Georgia you gets whats you elected.

It really irks me though that these characters have stolen the mantle that they imposed on the Democrats for so long.

I guess that's what folks get when they mix their morality with politics. Hypocrisy at it's all American finest.

nanowerx
1575
Points
nanowerx 06/15/12 - 02:17 pm
6
0
So once again, the government

So once again, the government cannot handle the funds we give them and therefore we have to get taxed even more so they can do what the original tax was supposed to do. My head is spinning!

I was at the meeting Tuesday about TSPLOST in Columbia county and the guy trying to sell us on this horrible tax was trying to say that, and I quote, "since people are buying more fuel efficient cars and not buying as much gas, we need extra funds to do what we were doing." Basically that is taxing us because we decided to go green and get hybrids or other fuel-efficient cars...which the point of was so that we wouldn't pay as much at the gas pump, but now they just want to get it from us in other ways. Funny enough, somebody brought up hard facts that the guy was wrong and Georgia actually gained over $50million in fuel taxes last year than the previous year....he had nothing to say but "I will have to check on that and get back with you." Quite disgusting.

On top of all this, if this passes, each region is assigned a panel of 5 random people who we don't get to choose. These people will decide how 75% of the money is spent and on what projects.....to the tune of $1million dollars. More infuriating is that the other 25% of this TSPLOST money will go into a Government coffer for "general purpose usage"...which means they can use it however they want, even if its not a road project.

This whole deal is corrupt. You should know something is up when the only people in support of it are asphalt and road-work companies. Truly sickening.

Little Lamb
53164
Points
Little Lamb 06/15/12 - 02:20 pm
6
0
Yes or No?

So, Retired Army, do you plan to vote yes or no? Remember the election is on July 31 and early voting starts this weekend.

DMPerryJr
1698
Points
DMPerryJr 06/15/12 - 02:27 pm
4
0
Excellent Letter

I forgot to say that to Sam Booher.

Kudos to you Sam for seeking to engage in additional discourse before making a decision.

And I have to say, I spend a good deal of time perusing online discussion forums hosted by newspapers, and this is the best one. There are some really smart and thoughtful folks here, regardless of political stripe.

Retired Army
17513
Points
Retired Army 06/15/12 - 03:04 pm
3
3
Little Lamb Writes:

"So, Retired Army, do you plan to vote yes or no? Remember the election is on July 31 and early voting starts this weekend."

Of course I'm going to vote. What I vote will be known but to me though.

I don't vote early. I like to stand in line with the unwashed and gain new friends. Dogondest things can happen. One time I got to chatting with a fellow who works for the SSA. Man, did he help this old soldier out getting his "entitlements". Had that not happened come retirement time I would have run into a bureaucratic buzzsaw.

Little Lamb
53164
Points
Little Lamb 06/15/12 - 03:18 pm
5
0
Anonymous Poster

Don't forget that you (as well as I) are an anonymous poster. Even if you told us how you planned to vote, we wouldn't know who you were if we met you on the street.

Little Lamb
53164
Points
Little Lamb 06/15/12 - 03:19 pm
5
0
Early Voting

I have found that many times the line for early voting is longer than the line on election day. In fact, at my precinct there is hardly ever any line at all.

dstewartsr
20394
Points
dstewartsr 06/15/12 - 04:06 pm
6
0
As well reasoned

...as all the arguments against it, I would place a (very modest) wager this too shall pass. At least in Columbia County. The last SPLOST was as nebulously ill-defined as this --with more inherent elitist porque for Boss Hogg and company-- and it sailed through. Any argument was greeted with cries of, "Are you against progress?"

crackerjack
163
Points
crackerjack 06/15/12 - 10:44 pm
2
0
TSPLOST

With Atlanta getting 15 to 20% of the revenue from TSPLOST, I wonder why they need to fix the roads there. I-285 around Atlanta is posted 55mph, but the road is good enough for those folks to average 80 or 90mph. And if they improve and add new roads, Atlanta will attract more inhabitants to the area, and need more water, so look out Savannah River.

Dixieman
21045
Points
Dixieman 07/14/12 - 09:17 pm
1
0
Unusual

Most of the time government identifies a need and then raises taxes to fund it. TSPLOST just grabs money from the public and then looks for projects to spend it on. Not with my vote!

klee0915
38
Points
klee0915 07/29/12 - 08:39 am
0
0
PLEASED

I am pleased to know that I am among informed citizens who have the heart to question government actions! VOTE no!

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