The recent events in our region of the state bring to mind a conversation I had with an elected official several years ago. Thankfully the official served only one term, but with all seriousness said to me, “We have not taxed the people enough yet.” This person continued, “There is much more money in the pockets of the people and we can get it if we let them know we need it.”
My reaction was immediate as I responded, “With that attitude, you will serve only one term.” My prediction came true regarding this person’s time in office. Though this person is gone, it seems that attitude is still prevalent among those currently in office. The scope and size of government continues to grow. There is an insistence on the part of many citizens that the government give more and more in services and handouts to some segments of the population. Unlike the Federal Government, Georgia cannot print money. Any new money or revenue stream will come from the hard earned money of the taxpaying citizens.
While it is obvious there are needs that must be addressed in our state, there is a need to cut the size of government not expand it. The collective thinking of government bureaucrats is always more and bigger government. When these bureaucrats join together in study groups, task forces, or think tanks, all common sense seems to leave the room. Many examples stand out just in the transportation area alone to support my opinion on this matter.
When a tax, toll, or fee is imposed on the people, there is never an end to the tax even though the project is complete. While the enabling legislation might have a date in the future for a sunset of the tax, as the date nears, someone comes up with a way to bait-and-switch allowing for the tax to continue. That type of governance creates a deep distrust of those who are elected to serve the people.
There should be no surprise that anger and rage are continuing to build regarding the failed project of turning and issues such as the Georgia 400 tolls that should have been removed, but instead remain in effect.
The people in this part of Georgia are upset over these issues. The regional transportation group expects the taxpayers will willingly vote to raise their taxes another penny through a new TSPLOST -- "We have not taxed the people enough yet," they seem to be saying. From where I stand, the government has not shown itself worthy to ask for more money from our pockets.
Will the TSPLOST be another bait-and-switch? Do you think the tax will actually be allowed to expire in 10 years or will officials come up with a reason to ask the voters to extend the tax? .