Monthly Archives: October 2011

Editorial: A tax by another name… (TSPLOST) (SPLOST) (TIA)

Bucky Johnson, the Mayor of Norcross and Chairman of the Atlanta Regional Roundtable, made a big deal in a recent editor letter (MDJ – ‘Splish-Splash’ column wrong about new tax’ October 16, 2011) about the difference between a SPLOST, a TSPLOST and the Transportation Investment Act (TIA), which comes up for a vote in July 2012. The TIA is estimated to raise more than $16 billion through a one-percent statewide sales tax over 10 years. An estimated $6.1 billion would be raised in the 10-county metro Atlanta region, which includes Cobb.

Regardless of what the Transportation Investment Act is called, it is the biggest single tax in the history of the state of Georgia. A tax this big demands absolute clarity and strict enforcement provisions for every word, every paragraph and every jot and dash to ensure that all promised projects are delivered. Mayor Johnson’s letter confirms to me there are no real enforcement provisions in the TIA.

As the Transportation Investment Act is written, enforcement does not exist. Continue reading

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Mayor Bucky Johnson – All wrong about new tax

This was Mayor Johnson’s response to my letter and MDJ Around Town  – James Bell

‘Splish-Splash’ column wrong about new tax

October 16, 2011

DEAR EDITOR:

On Oct. 11, the “Around Town” column ran with the headline, “Splish Splash — Cobb about to take TSPLOST bath?” We would like to correct two pieces of misinformation that were presented.

The authors, as do many people, referred to the Transportation Investment Act (TIA) as the “TSPLOST,” and even claimed that a “TSPLOST” is different from “the county-level SPLOSTs to which people are accustomed.” This is false. The acronym “SPLOST” stands for Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. The Transportation Investment Act is not a SPLOST. It is a one-penny sales tax that would fund transportation investments around the 10-county Atlanta region. By combining revenues collected in multiple counties, the region can afford to tackle projects that no one jurisdiction could pay for — like the interchange of I-285 and Georgia 400, which is a large investment on the TIA project list.

In the same paragraph where the authors inaccurately contrast a SPLOST to a TSPLOST, they claim that, “TSPLOSTS are a different breed of cat. Once approved by voters, officials are under no requirement to spend the resulting revenues exactly as promised.” This is also false. Continue reading

TSPLOST Shell Game

This was published in the Marietta Daily Journal

Dear Editor,

Cobb Chairman Tim Lee’s new proposal to make the transportation sale tax referendum more palatable by reducing the amount ear marked for a rail line from Fulton County to Cobb by $300 million is nothing more than a shell game…a magic trick. The hand is faster than the eye!

So now he claims they can build the 13 mile rail line for $500 million? The truth is once this tax is approved there is nothing in the Transportation Investment Act that will enforce the project list. Once they have the money they can do what they want with it. They can shift the money at will. They can move cash from one county to another and there is nothing we can do about it. Continue reading

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10-year TSPLOST is such a beast.

Opinion from Cobb Resident:
Tim Lee is the Chairman of the Cobb County Board of Commissioners, but you would never know it by his bullheaded endorsement of the current 10-county Atlanta metro region Transportation SPLOST scheme. Lee needs to be reminded that he was elected by the people of Cobb County and that he works for them. He was not elected by the voters of Fulton, DeKalb, Douglas, Henry, Cherokee, Clayton, Fayette, Rockdale or Gwinnett. And he certainly was not elected by the voters of the City of Atlanta. So, why does our county chairman persist in his strange desire to give away more than $856 million, or 85 percent, of Cobb’s estimated $1 billion TSPLOST money to another county for light rail? Continue reading
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