Grocery taxes would go up to 4 percent on every dollar spent. In most counties, taxes of 8 percent would be applied and collected on utilities, general purchases and possibly in 2013 adding some services and Internet purchases.
This new tax would be a nightmare for retailers, since it requires separate sales and use tax reporting. (See lines 762-768 of House Bill 277.)
The transportation ballot referendum is intentionally written to be vague and confusing. It does not make any reference to the 2010 Transportation Investment Act, nor mention this is another SPLOST issue. In addition to this new tax, we will continue to pay the current state fuel tax on gasoline. This tax nets Georgia close to $1 billion annually per the 2013 Georgia budget revenue figures. Another unmentioned item on the ballot is that TIA authorizes a quasi-government unelected level of 12 Georgia regional commissions to spend the anticipated $18.6 billion and to manage “vital” projects. The regional commisions assume the transportation responsibilities and control of our locally elected officials and require payment of dues for membership and the use of their “questionable services.”
Our Southwest Georgia Region 10 consolidates 44 cities and 14 neighboring counties and is based in Camilla. The city of Albany has paid in $43,061.85 annually, while Dougherty County paid $52,631.15 in each of the past two years. Did you realize your current taxes to local municipalities provided them with excess funds of $95,693?
Keep T-SPLOST and the GRCs in mind when deciding your July 31 primary ballot vote for state representatives and senators, plus your county commissioners. All incumbents and candidates should explain their personal views regarding this new tax and the regional commissions so we can be informed voters. As one wise Georgian stated, “As long as there is a tax that can be levied, government will find a way to spend it.”
Rural areas and smaller cities must all vote to offset control by our larger urban areas. Within each region, a combined 50 percent plus one vote will determine the tax outcome. This is not the time for voter apathy! Remember, any SPLOST issue equals lost money through increased taxes.
KELLY AND BRYON GODWIN