Patch Survey of GOP Leaders Shows Opposition to TSPLOST
Higher taxes and lack of trust are two reasons most Republican respondents are against the transportation referendum.
Georgia Republican leaders responding to a Patch survey overwhelmingly oppose TSPLOST in their regions and believe it will fail.
Patch sent surveys to about 135 Republican Party activists, candidates and officeholders last week asking their opinions about the referendum for a one percent sales tax to fund road and transit projects. Just over 60 responded.
The referendum to create a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or TSPLOST, is split into 12 regional districts across Georgia, and the referendum could pass in one region and fail in others. The Republican leaders responding to Patch’s survey hail mostly from the Northwest, Northeast and Atlanta regions.
Only a handful of TSPLOST-proposed projects are slated for Brookhaven and Chamblee.
While the survey is unscientific and can’t be generalized beyond the respondents, those who replied were broadly opposed.
Forty-two of the respondents, nearly 70 percent, said they are publicly opposing the referendum, with nine publicly supporting and 10 saying they are undecided. An even higher number, 46, said they planned to personally vote against the TSPLOST referendum. Twelve respondents said they would vote for it.
The responses were in line with a WSB-TV poll of Metro Atlantans showing that just 20 percent of Republicans support TSPLOST.
Forty-one of the Patch survey respondents, more than two-thirds, said they expect TSPLOST to fail in their regions. Only seven said they expect it to pass. Thirteen were unsure.
The Republican respondents offered several reasons for opposing the referendum, from the added tax burden to questions about its constitutionality. Some in the Metro Atlanta region don't want money from their communities used to fund transit projects in town. Others expressed an overall lack of trust in the state to follow through on its promises.
"TSPLOST would be the greatest tax increase in Georgia history," said one respondent. "It sets up new government bureaucracy. It shifts money from taxpayers of counties to others. Nobody really knows where the money will go. It is a bailout for a failing MARTA system."
Added another: "TSPLOST is a tax increase that will send a large sum of money outside of my community. Georgia taxpayers work too hard for their money to have the state spend it on projects of questionable value."
Those supporting the referendum said it was the only way currently available to address Georgia's dire transportation needs.
"Georgia has under-invested in transportation improvements since the 1980s," one supporter said. "T-SPLOST will provide necessary funds to improve transportation regionally and within indivdual counties. If we want Georgia to see economic growth and development, we must invest in our transportation system."
Another Republican supporter said: "[I]t takes some of the burden off of our residents, especially property owners who pay property tax, and shifts it to the population of the region as a whole and includes visitors paying sales tax."
You might also be interested in reading: