TSPLOST: A Monstrous Piece of Legislation
Sales tax will be a dangerous addition to an already bloated government.
House Bill 277, which passed during the 2010 session of the Georgia General Assembly, established twelve regional transportation districts. The bill calls for roundtables in each district with the representatives being the county commission chairman from each county in the district and a mayor from an incorporated city in each county in the district which has been selected by the mayors from within the cities in each county.
Gwinnett County's representatives include the chairman of the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners which at this time, pending the outcome of the March 15 special election, is commissioner Shirley Lassiter and nearby Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson.
The bill also calls for establishing a five member executive committee within each of the twelve transportation districts. In our ten county (Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Rockdale) a five member executive committee was duly appointed. Mayor Johnson was elected chairman. Apparently this did not sit well with the Honorable Mayor of the City of Atlanta. Mr. Speaker, David Ralston, of the Georgia House of Representatives got involved. Guess what? His Honor, Kasim Reed, was appointed to the executive committee.
Mayor Johnson, as I understand it, still remains as chairman of the executive committee as a non-voting member. Not sure I can figure that one out. HB 277 also creates a five member citizens review panel with three district citizens to be appointed by Mr. Speaker and two district citizens to be appointed by the lieutenant governor.
The trustee for tax revenue and projects will be the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission (GSFIC). Projects will be managed by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) or the Georgia Regional Transit Authority (GRTA). Reporting will be by the Department of Revenue (DOR) commissioner.
Hold on, there is more. Also created is the Georgia Coordinating Committee for Rural and Human Services. This committee will study transportation services and make recommendations to the Office of Planning and Budget. This committee will have an Advisory Subcommittee consisting of the Commissioners of GDOT (Georgia Dept. of Transportation), DHS (Dept. of Human Resources), DBH&DD (Dept. of Behavorial Health & Development Disabilities), DCH (Dept. of Community Health), DOL (Dept. of Labor), abd DCA ( Dept. of Community Affairs).
If you are still with me, it is obvious the new TSPLOST will be needed just to cover the expense of the acronyms. All of the participants will generate secretarial expense, travel expense and since many officials are paid by the number of meetings they attend, meeting expense. Much of the organizational work is going on now, even before the 1 percent TSPLOST initiative has passed (heaven forbid) and before any taxes have been collected.
If TSPLOST should pass (heaven forbid) same could take sales taxes in some counties and municipalities up to as high as 9 percent. Former Governor Rino's special council on tax reform recommended adding the tax back on groceries. So, the most regressive of all taxes, the sales tax, would hit people with the lowest disposable income the hardest, taking another 1 percent (TSPLOST - heaven forbid) and more if food is added.
I plan to speak out against this monstrous piece of legislation at every opportunity plus vote an emphatic NO when same appears on the ballot in 2012. I trust that every tax weary Georgian will study this issue carefully and help me by voting to defeat what, in my opinion, is nothing more that a staggering addition to an already bloated State of Georgia government.