Washington, D.C. – On July 31, 2012, Georgia residents overwhelmingly voted against the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, more commonly known as T-SPLOST. The tax, which called for the creation of 12 special tax district regions, would have levied a 1 cent sales tax increase for 10 years.
Advocates for the special referendum, including Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, have argued that there needs to be a revote, and it is a process when it comes to accomplishing change such as this. Unfortunately for Mayor Reed and other T-SPLOST supporters, Gov. Nathan Deal, a Taxpayer Protection Pledge signer, declared he will not turn to voters again on transportation funding and said he does not support an increase in the gas tax or a hotel/motel tax to fund transportation projects.
The vote against T-SPLOST by Georgia residents not only demonstrated displeasure with the idea of increasing the sales tax, but also voter distrust of the government. In this case, Georgia residents seem to distrust how the appropriation of funds would be used by government officials within the state. The latest attempt at solving the transportation issue proved to be flawed because it would have had a negligible effect on congestion while raising billions of dollars in taxes.
If transportation is as great a priority as Georgia legislators claim it to be, then elected officials need to prioritize it in the budgeting process. Rather than spending all the money then hitting up taxpayers for more cash, Georgia officials need to be fiscally responsible with the money allotted within the budget in order to better serve its residents.