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Residents hear T-SPLOST pitch

Posted: June 6, 2012 - 9:09pm  |  Updated: June 8, 2012 - 8:27am
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Photo by Jim Blaylock Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross addresses the audience during the TSPLOST Town Hall meeting.   Photo by Jim Blaylock Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross addresses the audience during the TSPLOST Town Hall meeting.
Photo by Jim Blaylock Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross addresses the audience during the TSPLOST Town Hall meeting.
Photo by Jim Blaylock Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross addresses the audience during the TSPLOST Town Hall meeting.

Residentas expressed concerns Wednesday about a transportation sales tax referendum during a town hall meeting in Evans.

The Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and county leaders held the first of two Transportation Investment Act meetings about the proposed 1 percent sales tax at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center.

About 75 people showed up to hear county commission chairman Ron Cross and chamber President Tammy Shepherd give presentations on the referendum, which they called a “fair tax” program.

“Everyone will pay into the system,” she said. “We will all reap the rewards.”

The proposed T-SPLOST is on the July 31 ballot.

The referendum, if passed, will provide $621 million during 10 years for the entire region and fund eight Columbia County transportation projects prioritized by leaders last summer, officials said. Those include the extension of Riverwatch Parkway to Washington Road, widening Lewiston Road and Horizon South Parkway, and improving Robinson Avenue in Grovetown.

Shepherd said the proposed T-SPLOST would improve regional traffic patterns, create thousands of jobs throughout Georgia and attract businesses to the area.

“It’s an investment in ourselves,” she said.

Several people, though, spoke of their distrust of the program and concern for transportation projects in more rural areas of the county.

Martinez resident Barry Thompson said politicians should be more responsible by spending less money.

“Why does it need to come out of the taxpayers’ pockets?” he asked.

Linda Parnell, of Evans, said she felt the T-SPLOST was a waste of money at the expense of residents.

“I think it sounds too good to be true,” she said. “We’re a little gun shy about giving politicians our money.”

While the referendum might not be ideal, Cross said, it is the best program available.

“Essentially, it’s all we have to work with,” he said.

In 10 years, officials expect that $840 million will be collected in the CSRA Region. Because that is 25 percent more than the total of the project list, the remaining money will be divvied up between the counties in the region as discretionary funds that leaders can use for additional transportation projects.

A second town hall meeting is set for 6 p.m. July 24 at the government center auditorium in Evans.

ONLINE EXTRA

See video of the T-SPLOST meeting at www.newstimesonline.com.

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Comments (23)

CCS

TIA / TSPLOST

For truth and facts about the transportation referendum / TSPLOST please visit TrafficTruth at http://traffictruth.net/, https://www.facebook.com/TrafficTruth, and @TrafficTruth on Twitter

You guessed it...Frank Stallone

This has becom:e America...

“Why does it need to come out of the taxpayers’ pockets?” he asked."

Because you drive on the roads. Who else should pay for it? The money fairy? No such thing as free lunch people.

justputtin

We will vote you out

Pass this and we will vote you out.

Barry Paschal

It is a referendum

Justputtin: TSPLOST is up for a voter referendum July 31. Voters will decide its passage. I'm pretty sure voters can't be "voted out."

gcap

Jobs?

The leaders say that this will create jobs. What about jobs lost when people spend less because things cost more? And what will the new jobs be? Sweetheart jobs created by contractors and government. These are not jobs that improve the economy. I suggest that a reduction in sales tax rate will increase sales and, therefore, tax receipts. Ask free enterprise Californians what happens each time taxes go up. Currently $50 billion in debt they cannot pay. Vote no.

pccarroll1

PROPOSED T-SPLOST

This proposed 1% additional tax is a shock to me. Shouldn't Columbia county residents been informed of this way before now and just a little over 6-weeks before a vote. So they want to raise the sales tax to 8%. Well, it looks like the county is on the path of New York State as their salex tax is a little over 9%. Also, where will every one be when the State of Ga comes alone in the future and adds another 1%. Hmm, we will be up to NY. I am totally against any new tax increase expecially now the economy is and housing being so down. Is there a Columbia County tax organization where County residents an rally around an get the word out to vote "NO" on this new tax proposal. I think residents need to be against this need to get involved and not let the County government roll over us. Yes, I will vote againts any commisioner who supports this.

PC

Craig Spinks

THANKS,

CN-T, for covering this important topic.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Georgians for Educational Excellence

Barry Paschal

TSPLOST vote is statewide

pccarroll1: The TSPLOST referendum is statewide. It's been in the news since last year when the projects were being discussed by regional committees. It is not a local referendum; it is a statewide vote on every Georgia ballot on July 31, and was placed on the ballot by the state Legislature.

pccarroll1

TSPLOST vote is statewide

Barry: Thanks for the clarification howerer, another reason to vote down this proposal. It is just another add on tax and we already pay a State sales tax and State income taxes, a portion of which should take care of transportation improvements (by State wide priority). More reason for the State Government to live within its means, be smaller and not add an additional tax that will never go away and only increase in the future when another must have expenditure is justified by our representatives. Agan, I refer to what has happened in NY State.

PC

Many Arrows

Liar, Liar Pants on Fire

The $840 million in revenue these Chamber and county commission folks keep hawking is a misrepresentation of fact. The real numbers - growth this year of 3% versus 6.4% they project - mean that even their own $689 million low case figure is still $50 million or so too high.

Ron Cross countered this by saying that the state "guarantees" the projects on the 75% constrained project list will be built, but that is pure fantasy. The state also GUARANTEED funds to make up revenue shortfalls when conservation use, corporate conservation use, and timber tax exemptions were passed, but those guarantees are GONE.

Many Arrows

Marrying 12 counties to Augusta?

The other 12 counties have to be insane to want to get into marriage with corrupt Augusta. Augusta gave away $10 million in sales taxes to Costco and its manufacturing plants just got new exemptions to gut sales tax collections. Augusta can get economic benefits at the other counties' expense.

Columbia County is a $2 million donor county. Ron Cross dismisses all other options, including passing a 1% tax dedicated to each county, which gives his county and the others much more money with fewer strings attached.

Many Arrows

This abomination is Harbin's baby

Surprised?

gcap

Spread the word.

PCC makes a very good point about getting the word out. Those who support this very expensive government-take-all project have the media and public forums. Those who oppose must gather steam quickly. We are not appealing to lawmakers. We must educate voters. Voting for this is voting for more government and fewer private enterprise jobs. Period. Besides, our traffic moves pretty good now and will for years.

Many Arrows

Doing my part

I am calling in radio shows every day on this monstrosity and talking to everybody I can.

justputtin

Thanks Barry.

I jumped to conclusions. Thought the vote was limited to the commissioners and I dont trust them. Thought it was like magnolia trace where it wasn't up for public vote. I stand by my earlier statement as to voting them out. Morris is the only one I trust and respect although he is already falling into line behind the "seasoned" commissioners unfortunately.

IsAmericaFree

Concerned

PCC: Not all of NYS is 9%. Just like GA, it depends on where you live.
This is a regional tax. That means our region can vote it in while the ATL region may not.(If it passes in ATL, you're looking at 9% in ATL city limits.) Projects have already been approved. Some have been planned long before this propsal came about and now they need the money (example: Old Petersburg Rd widening).
Sales tax is a great way to raise revenue because everyone does pay but before the gov't sticks us with a new one, why don't they look at their own spending habits first.

Riverman1

Not a snow ball's chance in...

Barry mentioned before that it is highly unlikely it will pass. I agree. Thanks to Many Arrows for supplying all the numbers in his usually competent way. This idea of coming up with another $840 million in tax revenue rubs me the wrong way in this economy. Even Bill Clinton wouldn't do that.

Sweet son

Pee Wee Columbia County!

Pee Wee Columbia County doesn't count. I saw another Chronicle article that said the Governor was going to speak at Westlake next Tuesday on the TSPLOST. I commented and told him not to waste our money by riding in our King Air to Daniel Field to accomplish his mission. Just another tax and that is what it is exactly. Just more money for our government to mismanage and waste!

Many Arrows

Nathan Deal Finances

Letting Nathan Deal anywhere near finance is like letting Jack the Ripper work in a maternity ward.

Many Arrows

Cannot BEAR it

DOT spent $750,000 to perform a bear census in South Georgia so as to know where to place UNDERPASSES for the furry ramblers to cross safely under the highway. Transportation a priority? Righttttttt................................

Sweet son

Good Comments Many Arrows

Both of your last comments were great but I especially like the 12:20 one where you were after Nathan Deall. You should have also included Ron Cross in the comment!

Little Lamb

Jobs?

Jenna Martin reported:

The referendum, if passed, will provide $621 million during 10 years for the entire region and fund eight Columbia County transportation projects prioritized by leaders last summer, officials said. . . . Chamber of Commerce president Tammy Shepherd said the proposed T-SPLOST would . . . create thousands of jobs throughout Georgia. “It’s an investment in ourselves,” she said. . . . In 10 years, officials expect that $840 million will be collected in the CSRA Region.

They don't have any idea how much tax money will be siphoned out of our pockets, but that's beside the point. I would like to amplify gcap's earlier post about job creation.

The notion that increasing taxes creates jobs has been debunked time and time again by Nobel prize winning economists at the finest universities around the world. Governments create nothing! Sure, you can look at the fine government buildings and the monuments and applaud all the construction workers that built them, but you have to remember one thing: What about the things not seen?

You see, if the T-SPLOST is not taken from us, we will spend it on other things — things that the free market provides — and those things provide private sector jobs. If the tax passes, those jobs will never materialize because the government took the money away from us before we could spend it on what we need and desire.

You can look up Bastiat's The Law and Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson and begin to understand.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

No wonder our public schools do not require students to study and master economics. If they did, they would not follow government leaders like sheep following a shepherd.

Little Lamb

Unfair

I still think it is unfair and highly unethical the way government officials advocate voting for these new taxes. Government should take a neutral role.

If they are going to have a public forum, they should make it fair. Have a qualified economist advocate against the tax and a politician advocate for it. Each side should have equal time and no government tax money should be used to create those fancy Powerpoint slide shows.

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