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Dukes: Now isn't the time for TSPLOST

Rep. Winfred Dukes is the Dougherty County Delegation's Senior member.

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

Albany, Ga. - A state house representative from Albany says an unprecedented statewide campaign to add another penny in sales taxes isn't worth the hardships it will place on residents in Southwest Georgia.

Rep. Winfred Dukes, an Albany Democrat, told reporters during a press conference Wednesday that Southwest Georgia residents, especially those living in Dougherty County, are paying enough with increases from the Dougherty County Commission, the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission and the Albany City Commission and can't stomach an additional one-percent for every dollar.

"Now, we're asking the people of the ninth poorest congressional district in the nation to tax themselves an additional penny for roads they don't need from money they don't have," Dukes said.

Voters in Southwest Georgia will decide July 31 whether to impose a one-percent sales tax for regional transportation projects on most purchases.

In Southwest Georgia, the tax, which will span 10 years if approved, is expected to generate $530 million.

Proponents say that it will generate 14,000 new jobs over the next 10 years in the area and provide a funding source that the state simply can't replicate on its own.

Opponents, like Dukes, say that sales taxes are regressive and tend to hurt the poor more than they benefit them. Many critical of the bill question the government's ability to manage the funds and argue that taxes tend to cost jobs rather than create them.

"I have doubts about the jobs figures they're talking about and any jobs created by these projects will be temporary and limited," Dukes said. "So you're not really helping the region."

Dukes said that voters should look at the projects and, if TSPLOST benefits them and is worth it to them, vote for it. But for him, he says it isn't.

"I offer to you that we don't have a transportation problem in Southwest Georgia. If you want to get somewhere and it takes you longer than 20 minutes, you're lost," Dukes said.

Comments

MRM 2 years, 2 months ago

It seems that the only ones openly supporting TSPLOST are road contractors and trucking companies. Why is that do you think?

Road projects should be paid by the users of those roads, not the general population. If we need new roads then the Georgia legislature and Governor should have the guts to pass an additional fuel tax, not push a regional sales tax on us.

For those on the fence, think about this....we pay a 4% statewide sales tax plus and additional 3% in local option sales tax.......where does the state get the idea of this "regional" tax? What the heck is a region and who defined it? Who drew up these regional boundaries and why? A county is a sovereign territory. These regions are arbitrary. How can an arbitrary region possibly supercede the sovereignty of a well defined county? These regions are designed to force a tax on the counties whether they want it or not. In our region it is quite possible that TSPLOST could fail in 10 of the 14 counties but still pass if Dougherty, Lee, Decatur, and Colquitt County pass it because they have by far the larger populations. How would you feel if you lived in Calhoun, Miller, Terrell, Worth, Quitman and the other rural counties about being forced to pay a tax that you voted against?

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thedeepend 2 years, 2 months ago

You forgot the Herald, they'd have you blindly vote for it to keep favors like, say, fixing parking tickets....

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formeralbanyresident 2 years, 2 months ago

It seems that the only ones supporting TSPLOST are road contractors and trucking companies.... If it were not for the trucking companies, how do you think you would get any product that you use? Everything is pretty much shipped via truck line. So, I would say that the general population should be helping to pay for these roads and bridges.

An additional fuel tax is not fair to those of us who drive. What about the ones that do not drive, that use a bus or bum a ride from someone everytime they need to go somewhere? They are not helping to pay for the very thing that they are using. Our roads and bridges. the very thing that this tax is to be helping.

I am all for passing this tax. Not only will it help to better the roads and bridges, not just for the here and now, but for later on down the road as well.

I will vote YES for TSPLOST.

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MisterEd 2 years, 2 months ago

While MSM makes some good points, the truth of the matter is that Georgia needs 159 counties about like we all need additional holes in our heads. Alabama is almost the same size as Georgia, and yet they somehow manage with 67 counties. There could be some significant savings if many of the counties were consolidated.

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stc1993 2 years, 2 months ago

FL is the same, they have 67 counties. I remember reading the plaque at the courthouse. Dougherty used to be part of Baker Co. Worth Co. roads need improving I remember reading a few years back they had more miles of dirt roads than anywhere else in the state. My mom lives in Worth & if it rains very hard you can't even get to her house on Pearson Rd. it's a very bad road.

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Engineer 2 years, 2 months ago

Meanwhile there are strong efforts in NE Fulton County to succeed and recreate the formerly separate Milton County again. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_C...

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Progressive 2 years, 2 months ago

Mr Ed, you are so right! Oh the possibilities of reducing multiple millions of dollars by eliminating so many duplications within this state and in Albany/DoCo. Just think about the potential for significantly reducing our property taxes, eliminating so many disfunctional and corrupt politicians, and making this a much more attractive environment for businesses to relocate here to provide much needed jobs. The opportunities are tremendous! But wait, I just realized I was dreaming of a better tomorrow that so many lieing politicians tell us about. We can not even get our local CIty and County commissioners to talk about eliminating duplicated services.

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formeralbanyresident 2 years, 2 months ago

If it were not for the road contractors and the trucking companies, how do you think that you would receive all of the things that you do? Pretty much everything is shipped via truck lines. As for an additional gas tax, that's great for the drivers, but what about the ones that bum rides from everyone? How are they paying?

I will be voting YES on Referendum 1 (TSPLOST)

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whattheheck 2 years, 2 months ago

While I agree we need good roads, GA used to have few before becoming a leader a decade or so ago, why is it all of a sudden there is the need to change the way roads are funded? I resent getting a card in the mail with the scare tactic of "Do you want to pay 27 Cents more tax per gallon of gas?" and "Do you want to pay higher property taxes because of retail and commercial growth?". If you read the State Auditor's reports on GDOT, it is difficult to conclude that available funds are being properly used--GDOT does what GDOT wants.

And I have issues with some of the local projects like another bridge over the Flint to connect Jefferson and Clark Ave which I saw price tagged at $90 million. In Lee Co, I don't see much value to bike trails and sidewalks as a transportation project worthy of special funding, For the most part, the local projects seem to be "this is what we will do if you are dumb enough to fund them".

Yes, trucking companies move most of our goods and road contractors build the roads. We pay them both now and we always will regardless of the funding mechanism used to build roads. I will vote no. What we are having proposed now is another way to get money for government projects without having our elected officials have to take pressure for their decisions.

And in case folks have forgotten, the first LOST proposals were to give governments money to help reduce property taxes--and have never gone away. How is that working for you, Dougherty?

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 2 months ago

Yep, GDOT blamed their mismanagement of funds on "computer software". Yeah right... like that line hasn't been used on us before. Don't vote to fund these dopes more money.

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jglass 2 years, 2 months ago

VOTE NO, NO, NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Cartman 2 years, 2 months ago

I rarely agree with Winfred Dukes. And I don't necessarily agree with his reasons here, but I do agree that we should vote NO on T-SPLOST.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 2 months ago

NO NEW TAXES!! Read My Lips!!

What we need is LESS WASTEFUL SPENDING AND GIVE-AWAYS!!

NO TO ANY-LOST!!!!

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Buckeye 2 years, 2 months ago

Unfortunately, Mr. Dukes appears to be one who is lost. Time to stop being so provincial, have a forward thinking mind-set and get us in to the 21st century. I hate to add a penny too but at least it will be funding progress and not handouts,

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formeralbanyresident 2 years, 2 months ago

Are any of you looking at what this will do for our community? The unemployement rate in Albany was up last month. Don't you think that if this were in place, that rate would be much lower?

What are we going to do is the USMC closes because we have only one way to I75? How many more jobs will that cost us? The unemployment rate rises again then.

What are you going to do for food and groceries, when they close the roads to those places because there is no money to repair them? Or if you are able to get to them, how do you think the truck drivers are going to get to them to deliver the goods when the roads are closed? How will you get to the doctor, hospital or any other appointments because the bridge is out?

You need better roads and bridges all over Southwest Georgia. This Referendum will see that this happens. I for one am tired of having to dodge potholes or wonder if a road may cave in on me while driving down it. That is what this will do for us. This money collected will stay in this region for this purpose. None of the monies collected here will be sent to Atlanta.

My Vote will be YES.

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