Senoia Councilman addresses ‘misinformation’ on SPLOST
The polarization of politics in today’s society has citizens unwilling to deviate from party lines, mired by a guise of misinformation and self-interest. The consequence of this unwillingness to work for the common good makes the position of President, a mere President of a party, rather than one of the people. This interpretation casts a shadow of distrust and subjugation.
Ronald Reagan frequently used the Russian proverb "Trust, but verify” when referring to government. In this “age of entitlement” some of our citizenry have become so complacent with the thought of government taking care of them that we’re slowly and methodically losing some of our natural freedoms. Other citizens have lost focus of Reagan’s inspiration and substitute distrust for due diligence as the only vehicle to reform.
I am not in favor of any tax that can not be verified or validated by the public, unless it is specifically for the existence of government’s intended purpose. Some local organizations need to come to the factual realization that the continuation of the Coweta County 1-cent (SPLOST) sales tax isn’t a product of special interest groups, corporate lobbyists or self-serving politicians. These local organizations have hijacked SPLOST and are holding it hostage under the guise of a “tax increase” or feared political motivation. The imposition of the SPLOST and its continued service to communities is subject to a voter referendum, thus reinforcing democratic principles. The voters will decide next week whether the described projects, which citizens requested, are funded through SPLOST. This is not a forcible increase in taxes; it should be observed as a continued public self-investment with emphasis on the public’s documented needs and desires.
I realize that government entities aren’t always run the same way. But the Senoia government has been held directly accountable by its people when it comes to the SPLOST topic. We operate on the principles pertaining to government of the people, by the people, for the people:
“Of the People”- at a Town Hall meeting community residents suggested to local government what they want SPLOST tax dollars to pay for. For example, parks and recreation.
“By the People” – a committee of local residents was formed to plan and enhance generated public ideas.
“For the People” – the local government acted upon these ideas for the sole benefit of its citizens.
I hear people constantly asking legitimate questions such as “Why can’t everyone pay their fair share of taxes?” or “If you don’t have the money, stop spending it?” or “Why are our politicians so out-of- touch or disconnected with the public?” or “Why are taxes being increased?”
The resolution for the local SPLOST specified the purposes for which the tax will be used, the maximum period of time that the tax will be imposed, the estimated cost of the projects (which is also the estimated amount that may be raised by the tax), and certain details about any general obligation debt to be authorized in connection with the SPLOST.
Property owners already bear the brunt of the overall tax burden by paying a disproportionate share. SPLOST is an equal opportunity mechanism that requires all residents to share this imposition equally. In addition, non-residents also contribute to the local tax initiative. It is estimated that 40 percent of SPLOST will be paid for by non-residents.
SPLOST allows for the paying down of city debt or ensuring that funds are available before spending money on a project. If the government doesn’t have it, it shouldn’t be spending it.
It is not a government slush fund. Through the exercise of SPLOST, residents can ensure that the money is spent on what they voted for at the ballot. If you favor the specific projects listed in the SPLOST, vote in favor of it. If those items are not to your satisfaction, simply vote against it.
Without the voter consent of SPLOST, if government officials wish to fund needed or desired projects, local government officials will entertain the thought of raising property taxes. On the other hand, if citizens want a direct and enforceable means to which they convey to local government their interests, vote for SPLOST.
Local organizations continue to demonstrate an inordinate amount of true political viciousness and hold staunchly to party affiliations. This form of political unrighteousness parallels many of the unresolved actions that help to create the polarized quagmire in Washington, D.C. I embrace the fact that people are entitled to their own opinions, but they need to verify information and stop blindly trusting the words of others. The SPLOST is considered a tax by the people for the people, not a tax by government on the people.
Senoia City Council