As far as taxes go, I’m generally in favor of sales taxes. They have the benefit of being a bit fairer as well as being easier to not have to pay. That makes them more voluntary than other forms of taxation. However, I’m urging voters to vote against the T-SPLOST referendum on our July 31st ballots.
The reasons are rather simple. First, I am naturally wary of any referendum that has large amounts of money behind it when the opposition has practically none. This is the truth, and is clear if you have received any of the phone surveys recently that are ostensibly to see if people support T-SPLOST or not, but invariably go into a diatribe extolling the virtues of an additional 1 percent tax and gauging whether or not that changes your opinion. I’ve always been of the mind that those surveys exist solely to change opinions.
However, there are other things afoot as well. Take, for example, the signs in Lee County urging folks to vote for T-SPLOST. These signs are the kind that road construction crews use to alert drivers of various things. They are mobile, and they change the text which allows the signs to communicate the message. This works well for road construction, or to let people know of smoke obscuring the view up ahead, but now they are being used to urge voters to support T-SPLOST.
These signs are generally owned by road construction companies…the very same construction companies that stand to benefit from the passage of T-SPLOST. These companies seek to urge you to vote to spend more of your money in order to help out their bottom line.
Another issue is the language surrounding T-SPLOST. It’s touted as a “job creator” of sorts. Of course, every time I read that, I’m forced to prop my feet up because the you-know-what is getting deep. I know it’s a pile of dung because we’ve heard the language before. Remember President Obama’s TARP II? That called for infrastructure repair, among other things, as a way to create jobs.
The unemployment rate didn’t even budge.
The companies that are able to take on these kinds of projects aren’t the mom & pop operations that are so drastically impacted by this economy. They’re larger companies that seem to be doing just fine. In addition, there is little evidence that these companies will increase their own workforce, especially knowing that the work is only temporary. Instead, many of these companies will simply use their existing personnel, leaving our unemployment rate unchanged.
If all that wasn’t enough, there is the fact that the Georgia Department of Transportation has done such a horrible job of managing their money. When their “management” is compared to Enron’s accounting practices – you know, the ones that ended up with people in jail – then maybe it’s time to consider not giving them more money to play with.
There’s also the incredibly strong possibility that once this tax is implemented, we will never see it go away. Take a look at the SPLOSTs that we continue to pass here in Albany. Sure, voters approve of them, but we are still paying them. The argument from those who stand to benefit is that “you’re already paying that penny, so what’s the difference?” The difference is that it’s my money, and government is once again demanding that we hand over what is ours on the pretense that they need it more.
No, ladies and gentlemen, I will not be voting for T-SPLOST. I urge each of you to vote against it as well. We can create more jobs by each of us using that one percent in our own way and not handing it over to the GaDOT. After all, we’ve already seen what they will do with it.