Category Archives: Douglas County Ga.

If T-SPLOST fails…. “The sky won’t fall”

by Haisten Willis/Douglas County Sentinel
“This isn’t a penny tax, this is a 1 percent tax on virtually everything you buy,” Bell said.
A few weeks ago, the Kiwanis Club of Douglas County had a speaker come and tell the group about the positive aspects of T-SPLOST. To give all sides a fair shot, the club allowed local activist James Bell to speak on Friday.

Bell is the outspoken co-founder of a group called the Georgia Taxpayers Alliance (GTA) and offered what he called “alternative viewpoints” on the 10-year, 1 percent sales tax voters in the 10-county Atlanta region and across Georgia will decide on July 31.

GTA was founded by Bell and another activist in 2009 to speak for the citizens’ voice on many issues. The group has advocated on issues like property and sales taxes, and has conducted many rallies and media interviews.

“You might have seen me on the side of the road with a sign before,” Bell said.

Bell began by noting that T-SPLOST advocacy groups have a multi-million-dollar advertising campaign, but recent polls indicate the tax may not pass in the Atlanta region. Continue reading


Sales tax ballot wording to mislead Georgia voters?

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.

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Higher Taxes or Commute Alternatives?

Georgia Clean Air Campaign offers Atlanta commuter alternatives.

We can increase our taxes or we can unitize existing transportation alternatives.

Continue reading

Pros & Cons of Douglas County T-SPLOST Project List

Douglas County Sentinel Reports:

Tax vs. Transportation: Voters must decide if traffic fix worth penny tax

by Haisten Willis / Douglas County Sentinel

On Tuesday, July 31, local residents will vote with millions of others in metro Atlanta on an initiative known as the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST).

Put one way, the measure is an extra penny that will finally turn the corner on the region’s traffic congestion, give people precious extra hours in the day, provide Atlanta with a competitive edge on other cities and set the area up for success for generations to come.

Put another, voters are being asked to give another $7.2 billion of their own hard-earned money into government coffers, more funding to the people who let the region slide into a transportation hitch in the first place.

Though Douglas County has a fraction (about 3.2 percent) of the 10-county area’s population, it has three people sitting on the very front lines of the issue.

County Commission Chairman Tom Worthan and Douglasville Mayor Harvey Persons each service on the 21-member Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) Regional Roundtable. The group consists of the county commissioner and one mayor from each of the 10 counties, plus Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

In the other corner is James Bell. Bell, who runs the Georgia Taxpayer Alliance, has long been an advocate of lower taxes. The libertarian even played a role in the dissolution of Lithia Springs as a city a decade ago. He is busy leading efforts to get the “No” vote out.

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Tax Group Says “NO” to Transportation Tax

Taxpayer Group Organizes against Regional Transportation Tax (T-SPLOST)

The Georgia Taxpayers Alliance, Inc. (GTA) has announced it will launch a grassroots campaign to defeat the July 31 Transportation Investment Act (TIA) Referendum, also called T-SPLOST. The tax is estimated to cost metro-Atlanta taxpayers more than $8.5 billion over ten years. 

James Bell, director of GTA said he is organizing in the 10 county Atlanta region to inform voters of the pending vote and encourage voters to vote “NO” on July 31.

Bell said while his group of grassroots activists cannot compete with a multi-million dollar pro tax campaigns funded by special interest groups, they do have dedicated citizens willing to work county by county to turn out the vote against the massive tax proposal.

“The opposition to the transportation tax is growing,”Bell said. “Even lawmakers who previously supported the tax have now come out opposing it.”

According to GTA, activists will be using social networks, attending public meetings, writing editorial letters and holding public demonstrations to bring attention to the sales tax vote in July.

Ron Williams, co-founder of GTA and a Gwinnett County resident said Gwinnett will be a major player in defeating the tax.

“D.O.T. projects like HOT lanes have made Gwinnett voters skeptical of any proposal to reduce traffic congestion,” said Williams.

The group believes an informed public will reject the 10-year tax increase, but the key to defeating the tax is voter turn out. Voters most go to the polls. “If you stay home and do not vote it is just like a vote in favor of the tax,”Bell said.

GTA has set up an educational Blog at .

James Bell and other metro-Atlanta activists are available for media interviews.

For more information:  James Bell – 404-452-4668 or Email –

ARC President Talks Taxes and Regionalism

“Are we creating pockets and islands of folks who will become increasingly dependent on others for transportation?” said Hooker. “As our population becomes more diverse, the dominant groups will be younger, less educated and poorer. Are we creating a permanent underclass, increasing social friction?” Doug Hooker

Doug Hooker, president of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), gave a speech on regionalism at Tuesday’s GreyStone Power luncheon.

Hooker spoke mostly about the concept of governing and making decisions as a region rather than a state or county. Specific focus was given to the July 31 vote on a one-cent regional sales tax for transportation projects, known as the T-SPLOST.

“Regardless of the outcome of the T-SPLOST vote, we should not overlook the significance of the moment,” said the Georgia Tech and Emory University graduate. “The very act of having a regional vote is extremely significant.”

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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

TSPLOST: Dog & Pony Show – Questions Go Unanswered

I attended the transportation sales tax (TSPLOST) meeting last night at the Douglas County courthouse. About 60 people attended with about half of that being suit and tie top guns of the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC).

Noticeably absent from the meeting were the Douglas County legislative delegation who’s responsible for the Transportation Investment Act, HB-277. The TSPLSOT vote is planned for July 20012. The TSPLOST is estimated to extract over $6 billion from taxpayers over ten years.

The “public forum” was very controlled by the ARC and required citizens to fill out and submit a question card to be read by a moderator. The public was never encouraged to speak up or ask additional questions during the meeting. Continue reading

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TSPLOST Meeting Tomorrow 5pm Douglasville, Ga

Douglas County Courthouse
NOTICE OF PUBLIC MEETING: There will be a public meeting regarding the Transportation Investment Act on September 7, 2011 from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. in Citizens’ Hall located at the Douglas County Courthouse, 8700 Hospital Drive, Douglasville, GA 30134

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