Valdosta Daily Times

July 13, 2013

Reconsidering SPLOST

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Reading about officials again discussing SPLOST will anger many people. After all, just last fall, voters rejected renewing the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. The voters have spoken, some may think, why is it going to be on the ballot again?

Yet before anyone makes up their minds one way or the other, against or for SPLOST, everyone should take a moment to weigh the matter. In today’s end-all-taxes atmosphere, it’s easy just to say no, and consider the end of a tax, the end of the problem.

Lately, curbing taxes has come to resemble the old warning about cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.

Priorities have changed since SPLOST VII was last on the ballots. Instead of millions being earmarked for projects that many voters considered luxuries, an estimated $55 million of Valdosta’s SPLOST revenues for the next six years would go toward funding a new water and sewer system — a problem which the general public discovered earlier this year as flood waters rose and dumped large amounts of sewage into area waterways.

So, instead of immediately saying no again to SPLOST VII, everyone should take some time to hear the proposals and weigh the ramifications of what a no vote might mean for each individual personally and for the entire community.

There is a reason why there is an anti-tax climate locally and across the country. Too often, people feel their hard-earned money has been wasted. They see little results for their tax contributions while having fewer dollars to pay bills and care for their families in their households.

They feel that elected leaders have failed to use tax dollars wisely. Many people no longer trust their leaders with their money.

If constituents vote yes, leaders must use the SPLOST funds for the stated goals and projects. It must not be diverted to other ends. The public must hold leaders accountable that SPLOST VII revenues will be appropriated to the projects approved by the citizens’ votes.

At this juncture, The Times advocates that people not rush to judgments on SPLOST VII. Take time to learn about the proposed projects and how much money would be targeted for each goal. SPLOST and our community deserve rational thought rather than a knee-jerk reaction for or against.