by Lance Lamberton
On March 15, 2011 there will be a specially called election held where Cobb voters will be asked to decide whether to continue a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). If enacted, the measure would cost residents and consumers in Cobb County close to $600 million from 1/1/12 thru 12/31/15. On average, this would cost each Cobb resident $600, or $2400 for a family of four.
At a time when the Georgia unemployment rate is in double digits, and there are record numbers of foreclosures, collapsing real estate values, and no job recovery in sight, a continuation of this tax is the wrong prescription for Cobb County. On the contrary, the best approach towards economic recovery is to reduce the tax burden so that individuals and businesses will have more money to save, spend and invest in themselves, rather than expand public services and infrastructure, which in turn would increase pressure to raise the millage rate on property taxes.
If the measure is defeated, Cobb County’s sales tax would decline to 5%, making it the lowest sales tax in the region. Most counties in the Atlanta metro area have a sales tax rate of 7%. This significantly reduced tax rate would be a boon to Cobb County residents and businesses.
Moreover, defeat of the SPLOST would impose fiscal discipline on the County, and cure it of what Commissioner Helen Goreham has called an “addiction.” In the wake of the $840 million SPLOST that we have been paying since 2006, the County has been awash with money to address its infrastructure requirements. The time has come, at long last, to ax the tax.
Lance Lamberton has been a Cobb resident since 2001, and is the founder and president of the Cobb County Taxpayers Association, a group that was formed in 2005 to defeat the SPLOST that was then on the ballot, and passed by only 114 votes out of 40,000 cast.