Think of what would likely happen if Lee voted “NO” on SPLOST and all surrounding counties voted “YES” on theirs. Odds are that people would have a natural tendency to shop in Lee County since it would be in their own best interest. On big ticket items such as furniture and automobiles, the prudent consumer could hardly pass up the dramatic savings.
For Lee County merchants and businesses, this could provide a needed competitive advantage. Everyone clamors for job growth. Businesses that grow are the same ones that hire new employees. New enterprises must consider the economic environment and would be foolish to locate in communities where high taxation is an unavoidable handicap. Lee could have the opportunity to look very good to new and growing enterprises.
Counties who think they are getting outsiders to pay for items they want are deceiving themselves. It would be far better to offer lower costs to visitors and our own citizens as a way of showing that we welcome you to trade in Lee and appreciate you being here.
The rationale to justify SPLOST in Georgia has been deceptive and illogical. A classic “bait and switch” maneuver, SPLOST was originally sold only as a means of providing property tax relief. A temporary 1-percent sales tax would be used to reduce property taxes in times of unusual and dire circumstances. The taxes, of course, never went away. Soon SPLOST was converted to provide a candy store of slush funds for mostly non-essential projects. With “bonus” money on hand it became time for the public officials to go on a spending binge.
The result, county government got involved in numerous projects beyond their authority and jurisdiction. These have become been the primary sources of controversy among our citizens. Please remember that long before the first SPLOST Lee County had roads, bridges, police, sheriff’s deputies, schools, fire and emergency services, built out of the wilderness without tacking on new special taxes.
Maybe our county leadership should look in the back pages of the Ledger each week and see just how many of our fellow citizens are losing their homes and property, all they have worked for. It is alarming. The people are severely hurt yet the grandiose spending by the county goes on and on.
Lee voters have the opportunity to draw the line here to stop this madness. Vote no to SPLOST on or before March 15. There is no other opportunity available you will have to immediately cut your taxes and send a message to government that you have had enough.
Any threats that your property and school taxes will be raised if SPLOST is not passed amount to extortion. We are not supposed to be lorded over by government. They are supposed to serve the citizens. Somehow, our leadership has forgotten.