Remember when we thought of the SPLOST as a temporary tax that was supposed to be used only for “Special Purposes”? We voted on the tax thinking that in a few years, after the Special Purpose projects were paid for, the tax would go away.
Well the SPLOST turned out to be such an easy way to raise taxes without raising the ire of the voters that what we thought of as temporary has become permanent. Sure, we get to vote on whether or not to continue it, but apparently our county has become so reliant on the SPLOST that not continuing it, we are told, would cause the loss of our bond rating.
If you look at our Fitch bond rating, you will see that the SPLOST is actually mentioned as part of the triple-A rating, albeit a small one.
Regardless, we voters have deluded ourselves into believing that the SPLOST is temporary and actually is only for special purposes, not for maintenance, etc.
Don’t kid yourself. It wasn’t true of the most recent SPLOST, and it’s not true of the TSPLOST that we will have the pleasure of voting on next year.
The TSPLOST is $6.1 billion worth of projects that will create such an increased need for maintenance that its continuance will be assured beyond the proposed 10 years. That’s because the TSPLOST includes 10 years of operation and maintenance expenses for a planned light rail system.
So when the 10-year TSPLOST runs out, it will have to be replaced by another one, if for no other reason than to keep the system running. Since no light rail in the world is self-sustaining, the alternative would be to shut down the $6 billion system. No one would do that. The obvious solution is not to build it in the first place.
So far we have had a SPLOST for county “improvements,” an ESPLOST for educational improvements, and next year, a TSPLOST for transportation improvements—all of them allegedly temporary but in reality inherently permanent.
How about a Georgia SPLOST: a GSPLOST that would bring in more dough to the state? Instead of building a useless, multi-use path from John Ward Road in Cobb County through the neighborhoods of Powder Springs to the Paulding county line as promised in the 2005 SPLOST, they could extend it all the way to Alabama.
I’ve always wanted to walk to Alabama (about as much as I’ve always wanted to walk to Paulding County).
Perhaps we could have a CSPLOST that would increase revenues for the entire country. Then we could extend that path from John Ward Road all the way west to Sacramento, CA and east to Charleston, SC. Wow! Shades of Forrest Gump.
Then there could be the A-to-ZSPLOST with funds going to the United Nations to build a footbridge from Atlanta to Zanzibar.
Well anyway, I wrote a poem about it. I’m no Robert Browning, but I don’t expect my readers to be Elizabeth Barrett either.
Ode to SPLOST
SPLOST, SPLOST is a marvelous tax
It promises to buy what our community lacks
From multiple parks where the children can play
To centers for seniors to keep boredom away
It keeps taxes low and bonds triple-A
And libraries open a bit longer each day
It educates kids and builds us new streets
And promises all kinds of special purpose treats
The TSPLOST, the ESPLOST and SPLOST A to Z
Taxpayers all wonder what the next SPLOST will be
A CSPLOST for clothing would be awfully nice
Or a GSPLOST for groceries to replace beans and rice
But the promise has faded with the economy so bad
And Cobb County voters believe they’ve been had
Seniors are grumbling that their centers are shuttered
The libraries close early and roads are still cluttered
Tax rates are up and the bond rating’s iffy
Potholes need fixing and the medians aren’t spiffy
The schools are real pretty, but math scores are poor
Makes one wonder what the ESPLOST was for
The SPLOST vote’s behind us, but don’t ever fear
We have a second chance with the TSPLOST next year
That SPLOST is so large with ten counties included
Six billion bucks! Are our leaders deluded?
The money will be wasted on things like light rail
And more paths to nowhere if supporters prevail
Our government is starting to act like big bro
So when you vote on the TSPLOST, your vote should be no