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The controversy over the ballot wording of the transportation tax referendum continues. Many are wondering how and why a “bias” preamble ended up on the ballot when the law is specific as to how the ballot question shall read.
The July 31 general primary ballot includes a regional transportation tax, and if all voters know about the tax is what they read on the ballot, they may believe it sounds pretty good.
The preamble to the referendum says the proposed tax, “Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and improve roads and safety with citizen oversight.”
And that has some critics of the tax seeing red.
Last week, Tax Party groups, conservative activists and others opposed to the tax gathered at the capitol in Atlanta to demand the preamble be removed from the ballot, saying the language was biased in favor of the measure.
A controversy is spinning around the ballot language of the July 31 transportation sales tax referendum. If passed, the ten county Atlanta region sales tax would cost taxpayer nearly $9 billion over 10 years .
The controversy is over the “preamble” of the “SPECIAL ELECTION Referendum 1” on the July 31 primary ballot. The preamble reads “Provides local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight.”
James Bell, Director of Georgia Taxpayers Alliance, said the wording was cleverly crafted in an attempt to influence voters opinion of the tax and to mislead the public.
According to Bell, this is a desperate attempt by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp to influence the out come of the tax vote. In an email exchange with a member of the Transportation Leadership Coalition , Kemp took credit (or blame) for the preamble to the ballot question.
More on this issues later.
Transportation Leadership Coalition
880 Marietta Highway, Suite 630-359
Roswell, GA 30075-6755
June 21, 2012, Roswell, GA – Today, citizens from across Georgia call on the Governor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State to remove language that was wrongly placed on state ballots. The language improperly promotes a ballot question on the largest tax increase in Georgia history. Marketing language, not authorized by law, was added to Referendum 1, the TSPLOST issue, offering misleading and untrue statements about the referendum.
“We are disappointed that our elected officials would act in such a corrupt manner,” said Jack Staver, chairman of Transportation Leadership Coalition. “Our leaders know this proposed tax can’t stand on its own merits. So they have resorted to back room trickery, deceit, and misleading the people of Atlanta and Georgia.” Continue reading
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Lots of information! Thanks again for your visit…
At a meeting of of PCAs I used data from INRIX to make a point about Atlanta’s traffic congestion. I was questioned as to where the information came from. Below is the column by Kyle Wingfield in the AJC that raises the issue.
Note that this data deals with “congestion” not traffic accidents or construction delays.
The latest INRIX Traffic Scorecard, updated this week with data through April, shows traffic congestion increases the average commute in metro Atlanta by only about 10 percent — less than six minutes a day.
Let me repeat that: Congestion adds less than six minutes to the average metro Atlanta commute. And to reduce — not eliminate — that six-minute problem, we are asked to tax ourselves an extra $7.2 billion in 10 years.
If you’ve driven a car around here, right about now you may be thinking these figures are baloney. So let me briefly explain where they come from.
INRIX, based in Washington state, tracks traffic data in America’s 100 largest urban areas, including metro Atlanta (it defines each region the same way the Census Bureau does). It does this by collecting information about drive times from 100 million truck drivers, taxis, airport shuttles, delivery vehicles and motorists who use its smartphone app in 30 countries. It then sells the relevant data to federal and state transportation agencies, including the Georgia DOT, said Jim Bak, co-author of the scorecard.
INRIX compares drive times when traffic flows freely to those at rush hour, then calculates the amount of “wasted hours” congestion adds to the average commute.
In Atlanta, based on the latest data, commuters would drive 241.9 hours each year — almost 56 minutes each workday — even if traffic always flowed freely. Congestion adds 25.4 hours a year, or almost six minutes a day.
AJC reports that the 15% local discretionary project lists allowed by the Transportation Investment Act (TIA) may never be revealed by city and county governments until after the July 31 tax vote.
The local list may be worth more than $1 billion. Voters have no idea what they will actually be voting for according to the AJC.
We encourage you to vote “NO” on this 10 year tax referendum
Each of the region’s counties, cities and towns would get a share of the $1 billion to spend on transportation. But unlike the regional $6 billion fund, there is no requirement to list a single project for the $1 billion local fund. In many cases, voters at the polls July 31 will have no way of knowing where the projects are that the local money would build.
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution survey of all 78 of the region’s city, town and county governments found that more than half don’t even have a project list more than two years after the referendum bill became law.
Speakers are available for your event.
With a multimillion dollar pro-tax campaign underway, anti-tax activists are being invited to speak at public and private events all over the Atlanta metro region.
If your civic group, business or news agency would like to schedule a speaker for your next event or interview… contact:
James Bell, Director, Georgia Taxpayers Alliance 404 . 271 . 9061
Gataxpayer @ Gmail . com
The Transportation Investment Act Referendum (TIA) will be July 31, 2012
AKA – Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST)
$8.5 Billion Tax Vote ( Atlanta Region)
As a past member of the Greater Augusta Chamber of Commerce, this writer is concerned that championing this outrageous deception will ruin recruitment for Chambers of Commerce. It might be an easier sell for the Communist Party to sign up new members after this misguided foray into public policy! Let’s defeat T-Splost on July 31.
The Transportation Investment Act of 2010 (also referred to even in the legislation as the ‘Transportation Investment Act’) is being called T-Splost all over Georgia. The legislation establishes a new 1% sales tax supposedly dedicated to regional transportation. Our region is the Central Savannah River Region, consisting of populous Richmond and Columbia counties, along with 11 rural counties. The tax covers a 10 year period. The funds are totaled for the region, then allocated based upon 75% a “constrained investment list of projects and 25% discretionary funds based upon an 80% non-state road miles per county and 20% based upon population. Funds are collected by the Georgia Department of Revenue, then transferred to the Georgia Finance and Investment Commission for distribution.