Valdosta Daily Times

September 15, 2013

SPLOST campaign kickoff this week

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Voters will be asked again on Nov. 5 if they want to continue the collection of the one cent sales tax or discontinue it. The tax, otherwise known as the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax or SPLOST, is a way for county and city governments to fund capital projects without having to increase millage rates or property taxes.

As a consumption tax, you pay one penny extra on taxable items that you purchase. If you don’t buy much, you don’t pay much. The tax has been collected for 20 years. It’s not new. And everyone pays it.

While some groups are dead set against SPLOST, or any tax, remember that citizens have to pay for the services the government provides to them, whether it’s local, state or federal. So if the taxes go away, so do the services. Try flushing your toilet without a sewer system.

Others say they are tired of officials squandering their money. No argument that past SPLOST monies might have been spent more wisely. However, instead of voting no based on this belief, get actively involved to change it.

If you don’t like the way your city or county is being managed, let your elected officials know. Remind them daily. Show up at meetings. Voice your opinion outside the ballot box. But don't vote down SPLOST based on past management decisions.

The reality is that the community cannot survive without improvements, upgrades, repairs, new equipment, etc. Most of the projects have to be done, with or without SPLOST. And the citizens will have to pay.

Voting yes for SPLOST gives you the option of funding projects one cent at a time and you only pay when you buy. And everyone else does too. Currently, it’s the fairest means that local governments have to collect tax.

If you’re undecided, go to the meeting Friday morning at the City Hall Annex at 8:30 a.m. and learn more. At the very least, cast your vote from an informed perspective.