Early voting has started for continuing the tax referendum we call SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax). That is with a T, by the way, not shh as in SPLOSH. I have listened to the pros and the cons, the supporters and the opposition. There are some subcategories of both, but first let’s talk about the tax.
SPLOST is a 1 penny tax designed for special projects. SPLOST built the courthouse, the jail, lots of roads, parks and more. Each SPLOST can usually be broken down into wants and needs. Some have more wants like libraries and parks while others have more needs like roads and infrastructure. But there is almost some mixture like on the current list: http://www.hallcounty.org/documentcenter/view/1588.
The supporters can usually be broken down into two groups: special interests and impacted. The special interests are those who are interested in things like a library or a park. These items are important because these groups bring passion and votes. So there is some money in this SPLOST for parks, the Gainesville library, Shoreline protection (for Lake Lanier Association), and the senior center. Those impacted want fire stations to reduce their insurance rates or road projects. I would even include those that want to keep their property taxes down in the impacted group.
The opponents can usually be categorized into two groups as well: those that don’t trust the government and those that want to see the carnage. I think that the previous article falls into the trust category. I have certainly seen my share of SPLOST pennies going to projects not on any list. You may remember an industrial park that I opposed. Then there is the group that wants to dare the government to raise property taxes if the referendum fails. I for one would like to see how the commission or city officials would handle it. Remember there are needs on the list that would still have to be taken care of.
I believe that the tax is a good tax. It is Fair, it is specific, and to me it contains more needs than wants. However, I know there is a problem with implementation. So this is what I propose: I will vote for the tax and hold my elected officials accountable for implementing the plan approved by the voters; however, if it fails, I will take some enjoyment watching our elected officials struggle with filling the gaps.