Douglasville, GA: The Georgia Taxpayers Alliance, Inc. (GTA) has launched an informational campaign opposing the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax Referendum (TSPLOST) slated for a vote July 2012. The proposed tax is said to be the largest tax schemes in Georgia’s history. The tax will extract from taxpayers an estimated $15-$18 billion over 10 years from 12 regions statewide. The Atlanta Region tax is estimated to be over $6 billion.
James Bell of Lithia Springs and director of GTA, said the group has launched a website -www.TSPLOST.info – to inform voters about the tax proposal and to counter the pro tax rhetoric being generated by advocates.
“We’ve reviewed the proposed project lists and public comments on the matter and have determined the tax plan is flawed and lacks public support to pass”, said Bell. “We believe the projects were created by special interests and will do little to improve traffic congestion or commute time in the Atlanta area.”
According to Bell, several lawmakers who voted to approve the Transportation Investment Act are now pulling back their support from the TSPLOST since reviewing the cost of projects and claim they can not ‘sale’ the tax to the public.
Bell particularly questions who will pay for maintenance and operations costs of the proposed rail lines. Cobb and other counties cannot now find funds to cut grass along roadsides and repair existing roads. How will the estimated $10 million minimum operating cost be paid and what kind of subsidies will be involved?
Bell has observed that commuters are not utilizing the public transportation systems now in place. “We see empty buses in Cobb and Gwinnett Counties and find that these systems are losing money and are being subsidized by taxpayers at 75% of the operating cost”, Bell said.
As an immediate and cost effective remedy, Georgia Taxpayers Alliance urges commuters to use existing public transportation like van and car pool programs, express bus and rails lines. Also, telecommuting programs, changing business hours, 4 day/10 hour per day work weeks and synchronizing traffic lights can help to improve traffic flow.
“We can improve commuting time in Atlanta without spending billions of tax dollars on rail lines”, Bell said. “As one opponent of the TSPLOST said, ‘the TSPLOST offers nothing that getting up 15 minutes earlier wouldn’t solve.’
GTA was formed in 2009 to keep taxpayers informed and up to date about tax issues and to help local activists build a strong community base to fight unneeded, unwanted and wasteful taxation.
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