We the people, Georgia voters, defeated the T-SPLOST referendum by 61.2 percent in nine of 12 regional structures. Our majority did not “buy into” the Chamber’s claims, along with Georgia state and the regional commissions’ efforts of “Combined We Conquer” control strategy and voiding home rule.
This defeat vote cut the first tentacle off the octopus that is the unelected newest layer of government — regional commissions — and their possible squeeze to haunt us again in two years. Meanwhile, regions will continue their multimillion-dollar budgets, plus collecting county and city dues, still draining our local tax dollars. Combined, Albany and Dougherty County could salvage $71,770 for local utilization.
It is my understanding that since 56.6 percent of voters in Region 10 defeated T-SPLOST, all of the our 44 cities and 14 counties can, through their local elected boards, opt out of the region and stop paying dues. By withdrawing our memberships, we can cut off their second tentacle through defunding their operations. Your area is the largest populous within our region, so if our top three all withdraw their support simultaneously, others will, too. Our boards may need encouragement to opt out and reclaim their control. I’m sure they would appreciate our re-enforcing confidence in them by phone calls, emails or short notes.
The third tentacle could be severed when we demand the General Assembly, by a roll-call vote, repeal H.B. 277, Transportation Act of 2010 (TIA). The fourth, final tentacle would be cut by reintroducing S.B. 86 to abolish regional government. It passed the Senate by a 74-0 vote in 2011, but Gov. Deal vetoed it May 13, 2011.
It is imperative before the November election to question incumbents and candidates for Georgia’s House and Senate races to confirm their views and willingness to follow the majority rules of their constituents.