Maloy: SPLOST Represents Irresponsible Spending
If you're against waste at the federal level, so should you be at the Cobb County level.
By Tom Maloy
The costly SPLOST 2011 special election is Tuesday. On that day, we, the citizens of Powder Springs, will learn something about ourselves, and our votes will send a strong message to our county’s government.
But the $400,000 question is: “What will we learn, and what is the message we will send?
Over the past several years, many citizens here in Powder Springs have demanded that the federal government end the excessive tax-and-spend policies that have given our nation a $14.2 trillion dollar debt and a trillion-and-a-half-dollar deficit.
Our protests brought about an unprecedented turnover in the U.S. House, a near upset in the Senate, and a subsequent budget debate that signals that our demands for lower taxes, less spending and smaller government may have been heard.
But while we were all exercised about waste on the federal level, we totally overlooked the fact that waste is just as rampant on the state and county levels.
The 2011 SPLOST has awakened Cobb County’s citizens to the fact that “tax and spend” is not the exclusive purview of Washington, but that the federal addiction has percolated all the way down to the government right here in Cobb.
The reason to oppose this SPLOST is simple: It’s a waste of taxpayer money. It’s as if the Cobb County Board of Commissions determined it could squeeze $492 million out of taxpayers, and then went about devising the most useless ways to spend it. The commissioners have learned well from Washington.
If you vote for this SPLOST, here’s what you’ll get: foot bridges across creeks where such bridges already exist, a dog park, skate parks, water features, and curtains for a theater that can’t support itself.
In the county’s 21 parks, perfectly good buildings and scoreboards will be demolished, only to be replaced by others that will serve the same purpose and not any better.
You will also get sidewalks along county roads where no one walks and road dividers that will block access to businesses. The project-list planners did throw in some road resurfacing to make this stinker more palatable to voters, but not much.
Only 1.9 percent of this behemoth would go to public safety. They call that “supporting our police and fire departments.” Some support.
If this is anything like the 2005 SPLOST, some of the money will simply disappear. This tax will cost the average family of four more than $2,000 over four years. Is this really the way you want to spend your money?
The real purpose for this “special purpose” tax is not to serve the needs of Cobb County, but to serve the needs of businesses that will gain millions in contracts to do these projects.
That’s why construction and contracting companies, law firms, engineering firms and tax-supported Community Improvement Districts, or CIDs, have contributed more than $234,000 for the campaign to sell this monstrous bill of goods to the public. That’s like having to pay for the rope for your own hanging.
The bottom line is that on Tuesday, we’ll learn something about ourselves. We’ll find out if we are really serious about forcing our government to cut spending and returning to some semblance of fiscal responsibility, or if we are just paying lip service to it.
Certainly, we can’t demand austerity of the federal government and not also demand it of county government. Voting no will send a message, which will reverberate to the top levels of government: We the people are sick of their profligate spending and will have no more of it.
Voting the other way will send a completely different message: “Go ahead and kick us again. We like it.”