In less than a month, Georgians will head to the non-partisan and primary polls to vote on all 14 U.S. House seats, two Public Service Commission seats, state Senate and House seats, state and local judges, district attorneys, and various local elections.
They’ll also be taking on an issue that is, in fact, statewide, though from our viewpoint in Cobb, it seems like it only matters to those in metro Atlanta.
The Transportation Investment Act of 2010, or TSPLOST, splits up Georgia into 12 regions, each of which will be voting July 31 on whether to raise their sales tax by 1 percent for 10 years to fund a list of agreed upon transportation projects.
How one region votes won’t affect the taxes of another; however, if one county in a region, like Cobb in metro Atlanta, votes it down, the other counties could give the tax the thumbs up with enough yes votes.
If approved by the 10 metro Atlanta counties, the tax is expected to bring in about $7.22 billion over 10 years to go toward $8.5 billion in projects.
Of the amount raised, $6.14 billion will go to 157 regional projects, while the rest (15 percent) will be given to local governments based on population and road mileage.
Powder Springs and unincorporated Cobb are expected to receive about $3 million and $13.3 million, respectively, of the $17 million predicted to be raised annually for the county. Local governments will be able to use the money at their discretion for transportation projects.
The wording for the TSPLOST that will appear on the ballot for every Georgia voter is:
“Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight.
Shall Cobb County's transportation system and the transportation network in this region and the state be improved by providing for a 1 percent special district transportation sales and use tax for the purpose of transportation projects and programs for a period of ten years?”
At a June forum, commission chairman candidate and retired businessman Larry Savage took issue with the wording, saying it is biased and attempts to sway voters toward the tax.
In a Marietta Daily Journal article, incumbent Chairman Tim Lee and a spokesman for Secretary of State Brian Kemp said the wording matches up with what the proposed tax aims to do.
But we want to know what you think.