Local Issue Brewing: Erickson on TSPLOST
From The Telegraph
June 15, 2012
By: Erick Erickson
“Having been so focused on national issues these past few weeks, it is nice to step back and look locally.
“There is a lot of local politicking heating up, from contested elections to the Transportation SPLOST. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I will oppose the T-SPLOST. I have no philosophical objection to the T-SPLOST and actually think a number of the projects are very worthwhile. But the underlying transportation bureaucracy is filled with waste and abuse that the T-SPLOST will not just subsidize, but probably make permanent. We should fix our transportation bureaucracy before going down this road.”
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You are absolutely right, The DOT needs to get their house in order, plug all the holes, before receiving more money to loose. Only this year they FOUND 700 million dollars, of which 564 Million was quickly set aside for more toll roads in Atlanta, just great tax take the money, and then build a road that we have to pay to drive on. How do you loose 700 M.$. To loosely quote Scott Slade, “”I bet Sonny Perdue would have loved to have that money found while he was in office”.
The DOT is sitting on 1 Billion + dollars. Lets not give them any more money from a sales tax.http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/audit-georgia-dot-sitting-1billion/nF8X9/
Miss management of DOT funds, as “serious as Enron”
I obviously oppose this TAX. The July 31 TSPLOST 1% sales Tax. It will cost me $300 a year. It is an oppressive tax, affecting the lower income and fixed income, as myself the most. Roads should be funded by a USER TAX ONLY.
First let us understand that this ROAD TAX, will affect every 1.00/dollar a 6 year old can push across a counter, and every bottle of ensure your grandparents might need, and every diaper for your grandchild, and another 1% tax on every cell phone in the state. It will add $200 to $400 to the cost of your next car or truck. THAT’S A FACT.
Next it is important to remember we built our current road system with a 7.5 cent per gallon fuel tax, a tax that has been unchanged for 25 years.. Georgia is number 47 in fuel taxes, and 18 when the federal/other taxes are added in. Depending on how the federal taxes are distributed back to Georgia, the state could be realizing 22 to 25 cents per gallon.
Why didn’t our state legislatures raise the fuel tax as need? If they doubled the fuel tax to .15 cents, this would only cost the average drive of a 20 MPG car driving 400 miles a week, an extra 75$ a year, this will be a lot less than a penny tax on every dollar. They will not do this as it will enrage the voters, each time they tank up, and it will cost their trucking friends.
What were the Republicans thinking when they dreamed up this CASH COW.
This whole cash cow is the realization of North Ga. money men, developers, the ARC, and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce that hired the lobbyist Doug Calloway from Florida, as the point man to push the show.
I think they dreamed the sales tax up, so as not to offend trucking industry, by raising the fuel tax, and seeing that the SPLOST way of thinking of, “”it’s only a penny”” had worked so well before, they thought they could would take it state wide.
The way the the bill is written, the counties get so much money, they could not turn it down. We are fighting an up hill battle against this tax. The pro party is well financed and has billions to gain from all this work.
I can see where developers are wringing their hands in joy at the prospect of rising land values, and property sales.
There is just one problem, the cash cow gives out in 10 years, or when the dollar target has been reached.
The question I asked of the DOT presenter at the meeting, ” how do we pay for the maintenance on all of these projects after they are finished?’ There was NO answer there. We know this tax will never end, all of the upkeep will be paid by one tax or another.
I am sure, nearly all county officials are for the TSPLOST as this is a very serious cash flow, and all are seduced by the narcotic of $$. Each county will share in 25% of their zones money, with 75% going to the state. My districts goal is 876 million $ over 10 years or sooner, if the dollar amount/goal is reach early.
For Jones County this means a yearly income of 1.2 million which is allocated by a formula I do not totally understand, but is partly based on centerline road miles, plus if I understood correctly Jones County will receive an additional 17 million that was mentioned, this does not include the 60 or 70 Million in county road work from the other 75% of the TAX
The county officials are just giddy at the prospects of so much money coming in. Just on problem, I do not think we taxpayers have much control over it. Here is the problem. a common SPLOST can only be spent on infrastructure, voted on by the taxpayer. The TSPLOST is different as it provides funds for operating cost or service, now as I understand it, this could be anything, new motor graders, maybe a new employee to over see all this spending. This money must be spent on transportation, but then what happens to the other county funds this new income will free up? tax relief, sure, of course.
LET THE DREAMS BEGIN.
The average reader would walk away from the advertising supplement thinking that the transportation overhaul would create 200,000 jobs in the next few years.
But those are job years. In fact, we don’t know how many of what your typical person would consider actual jobs this effort would create.
Citizens for Transportation Mobility would have been much better off if it said the overhaul would create or sustain an average of 7,120 jobs each year.