Is transportation tax referendum ballot language legal?

TrafficTruth.net - Another tax won't help your traffic jam.

Transportation Leadership Coalition
880 Marietta Highway, Suite 630-359
Roswell, GA 30075-6755

MEDIA CONTACT
Claire Bartlett
404‐384‐3256

Transportation Leadership Coalition Uncovers Unethical Ballot Language
Marketing language taints ballot question in an effort to sway votes in favor of the largest tax increase in Georgia history.

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.”The Transportation Leadership Coalition, LLC, discovered that the ballot question on the July 31, 2012 Special Election Referendum 1 included a preamble to the Atlanta Regional District T-SPLOST ballot question.  The preamble states, “Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight.”  It then follows with the ballot question provided for in the Department of Justice authorized Transportation Investment Act of 2010 (TIA).

Our concerns were confirmed after making inquiries to the Secretary of State’s office about this issue.  General counsel advised that the language was included in the legislation setting up this referendum and further that all questions or amendments include additional language.  Both claims are false and indicate whoever did this is well aware it was wrong.

A cursory application of the Secretary of State’s office’s explanation reveals the following flaws:

  • The Cobb County sample ballot second Special Election question does not have a preamble to the question of Sunday alcohol sales.
  • The language in the preamble is not found or referenced in the TIA nor the enabling legislation of H.B. 1216 (2008).

The secretary of state’s office then went further and admitted the language originated from people advocating passage of the tax increase.  This begins to explain why the language is not based in fact and is not descriptive of the actual proposal.

The preamble wording is nowhere referenced in the TIA as claimed by the Secretary of State’s general counsel.   Additionally, the marketing language has already been proven false or flawed:

  1. Create Jobs: On April 16, the Atlanta Journal Constitution released PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter found that Atlanta Regional Commission’s (ARC) claim of creating or supporting an additional 200,000 jobs as mostly false.
  2. Reduce Traffic Congestion:  ARC’s Mike Alexander has publicly admitted, “The average commute time really doesn’t change a lot.”  Because of this admission, ARC has changed their definition of alleviating traffic congestion to “increasing the hypothetical number of people who can reach a given point within 45 minutes” which has nothing to do with commute times.
  3. Citizen Oversight: The Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor would appoint unelected officials to these positions that have no authority to take action against fraud, waste, or spending.  Additionally, both the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor are actively advocating for the tax passage.

TLC encourages the press to attend today’s press conference at the Georgia State Capitol at 12 noon.

TLC also encourages the public to research the motives behind T-SPLOST.  If the citizens of Georgia need a resource of information, TLC has provided information on its website, TrafficTruth.net.

About Transportation Leadership Coalition, LLC

Transportation Leadership Coalition, LLC, is a grassroots, all-volunteer organization that has come together in the belief that the State of Georgia can do a much better job of transportation planning than passing the largest tax increase in Georgia history and spending the money on politically-favored rail projects, trapping us into a tax situation that will continue forever.  We believe that if Georgians understand the facts about the project list and the proposed management of the funds and projects, they will overwhelmingly reject it.

Web: www.TrafficTruth.net

Facebook: Facebook.com/TrafficTruth

Twitter: @TrafficTruth

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One thought on “Is transportation tax referendum ballot language legal?

  1. Frank Barnes says:

    Is there any real difference between special interest parties being allowed to place their selected wording on a referendum ballot and a candidate’s supporter greeting voters as they enter the voting booth? Both obviously intend to sway voters. Both are physically within the polling area. If one is illegal, then both must surely be.

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