Don’t you believe governments should manage their finances like our families must? Imagine each time you went to the supermarket to pick-up just a few household items for your family, you were instead required to purchase a total of $100 worth of stuff. You would be forced to buy items that were either unneeded or more expensive, possibly both. Our families don’t operate like this and neither should our government. That’s exactly why I introduced HB 153, which allows counties to charge a fractional SPLOST.
Currently, Georgia law allows counties to propose a SPLOST referendum, that if approved, allows for a 1% tax rate. The funds collected are used for capital projects such as constructing roads and other infrastructure, local government buildings, and jails. However, there is no flexibility for a lower rate.
What the legislation does:
HB 153 would accomplish the following:
- Allows Georgia counties to propose a SPLOST at less than 1%, but cannot exceed 1%
- Any SPLOST less than 1% must be agreed to by all cities within the county
- Counties can enact a SPLOST within 45 days of a voter referendum
- More flexibility for counties to scale the SPLOST rate to projects that are essential (no more “filler projects”)
- Opportunity for lower taxes
- Protects cities’ interests by giving them “veto-power” over a county SPLOST proposal
- By allowing the SPLOST to be enacted within 45 days of the vote (current law is 80 days), this enables calendar year SPLOSTs to be potentially voted on in a General Election. Current requirement of 80 days does not allow this.
Why not do 1% for a shorter period?
Some suggest just shortening the SPLOST’s duration, but this leads to changing sales tax rates more frequently. In addition, a consistent, lower sales tax rate can lead to more revenue when economic development is factored in later years.
This legislation has the endorsement of unanimous resolutions by the county commissions in both Cobb and Cherokee County. In addition, it is endorsed by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Georgia Tea Party, Cobb Taxpayers Association, Americans for Prosperity and several other leading business associations in metro Atlanta.
Opposition by government interests
Though this legislation makes sense to many fiscal conservatives, it is nevertheless being opposed by the Georgia Municipal Association. This is an association of mayors and city council members all over the state.
I must say here that I have many friends in and respect for this organization. It has operated for decades assisting cities best manage their municipal governments.
However, as a fiscal conservative first, I firmly believe they are wrong on this issue. I disagree with the assertion in the above statement from their website that municipal governments are “due” SPLOST revenue. I believe these SPLOST referendums are optional and subject to a voter referendum, and that government entities should explain and legitimate the SPLOST referendum, without believing the taxpayers owe this money. The bottom line is that government doesn’t want political pressure to do with less, even though that’s what is required of our families in these times.
I need your help!
Please contact your state legislator and ask them to support for this legislation. This bill can be made law if we all make our voices heard. You can research who your state legislator is by going to www.votesmart.org and entering your address.
Together we will prevail for the taxpayers!
GA State Representative District 46