Plan to Change TSPLOST Date Is Political Ploy
Proposed date change is an attempt to increase the chance of passage for the transportation referendum.
When Gov. Nathan Deal issued the call for the special session of the General Assembly which began yesterday, he included a proposal that the date be changed for the TSPLOST referendum.
The transportation special purpose local option sales tax or TSPLOST was to be placed before the voters in a primary election next July. From the time the General Assembly passed legislation allowing the people to decide on a new tax, there has been much push back from the voters regarding adding another tax on what is already an overtaxed electorate. Deal’s spokesperson, Brian Robinson, said the governor “would like to see the TSPLOST date moved to November in order to include as many Georgia voters as possible in this important decision for our state’s future.”
The Governor’s call for a change in the voting date followed the report that the main public relations firm hired to promote the positive side of this new tax had resigned and would no longer be pumping the people and the media with the positive viewpoint for this additional tax. From the beginning, the chances have seemed dim that voters would willingly subject themselves to additional taxes.
Just last week Dacula Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks released the results of a survey indicating local voters have a negative view of the TSPLOST. The main concern, other than having to pay another penny, is the inclusion of heavy or light rail on the approved project list. Some believe this so-called transportation solution is a veiled attempt to expand heavy and light rail throughout north Georgia. Voters are very leery of any expansion of MARTA into the northeastern suburbs. The issue is more than just the expansion of the rail lines, but the fact that no one can estimate the long term cost of operation and maintenance of the rail lines.
It is the long term costs of some of these proposed transportation that will cripple future generations of citizens with the burden of additional taxes. In attempting to find a solution to today's traffic issues, our lawmakers may create a much larger problem down the road. Delaying the vote in order to have more time to sell the voters on the idea is not going to change that.
From where I stand, whether the TSPLOST vote be held in June, July or November, many of us have already decided our vote will be no.