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Is The TSPLOST Ballot Preamble Biased?

The TSPLOST ballot preamble is being criticized for its possible bias. Recent survey shows support for tax is losing ground.


On July 31, , as well as the rest of the 10-county metro region, will cast their ballots on the Transportation Investment Act to decide whether to establish a one-cent special transportation sales tax on themselves to fund various transportation projects.

The phrasing of the ballot question's preamble has been criticized for being biased.

It reads: "Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight"

Attorney Pitts Carr told WSB-TV, "Create jobs? Stop congestion? Who wouldn't vote for that?"

The attorney has been hired by referendum opponents to find out how that language, which was OK’d by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, was approved for the ballot when it was not part of the original law.

What do you think? Is the TSPLOST ballot preamble biased? Tell us in the comments below.

It is now less than four weeks until metro Atlanta residents head to the polls to vote on a referendum that will fund more than $6 billion in transportation improvements through a regional sales tax.

Brookhaven and Chamblee voters have only that would be implented in their communities.

And by the results of a recent poll, the proposed tax is losing steam as the referendum voting date approaches. A poll by Rosetta Stone Communications for WSB-TV last week showed that only 38 percent of voters surveyed in the 10-county metro region are in favor of the sales tax.

That is down four percentage points from a late May polling. That month, 45 percent of those surveyed were opposed the new sales tax and last week’s numbers indicated that now 49 percent are against it.

The most recent survey showed that Fulton and DeKalb voters combine for 50 percent 'for' and 32 percent 'against' the tax. But the other eight counties - Cobb, Cherokee, Clayton, Douglas, Fayette, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale – are against it. 

How will you vote?

Eric H July 06, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Yes because of the price elasticity of demand adding a 1% sales tax will not create more jobs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_elasticity_of_demand. And because of Induced Demand in traffic paving more roads will not relieve congestion in the long term but may in fact increase it in the long term http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_demand. Is also very problematic that the Secretary of State can unilaterally add this language to what was approved in the state house. What else can they change when it comes to this law? And in fact some of the most productive cities in the U.S. have high congestion rates, why? Because people adapt. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/06/defense-congestion/2118/#
HDM July 06, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Anyone who agrees with President Obama's stimulus yet is against the TPLOST is being hypocritical. Both ideas boil down to the same thing, pulling ahead future resources to stimulate current demand.
Joe_Harris July 06, 2012 at 06:50 PM
It is important to read and be informed about the Transportation Referendum. Through the raising of funds we will be able to get critical roads and interchanges improved and provide other mobility options. We need to improve the transportation infrastructure of Atlanta.
Eric H July 06, 2012 at 07:57 PM
The TSPLOST is not pulling future resources in that its raising taxes to provide for more government spending. in other words moving spending from one pocket to another. Obama's stimulus was deficit spending, in other words unfunded. Deficit spending is generally deemed effective during recessionary periods, with the understanding that during economic expansion the government needs to scale back so as not to compete with private businesses for economic financing. Unfortunately we started doing deficit spending to fund the Iraq war during a time of economic expansion. And actually now we are entering into economic expansion, granted its slow, but that is in part due to cuts in government spending and employment that wipe out the gains in private sector expansion. Granted private sector expansion needs to pick up more but this spending won't come on line until 2013 and then will happen over the 10 years as the taxes are collected. Its actually very ironic that a state like GA where we opposed deficit stimulus spending during the depths of the recession would now vote in a tax increase under the guise of stimulating the economy.
Eric H July 06, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Anyone who lives along North Peachtree road, North Shallowford Road and Shallowford Road between 285 and 85, Including Huntley Hills, should be very concerned about TSPLOST passing because it will fund a new 4 lane connector road allowing cut through traffic to pour onto these streets via a new 4 lane connector road that will connect Shallowford Road at Buford Highway to North Shallowford/North Peachtree at Peachtree Industrial next to the CVS and Olga's Restaurant. This project will include construction of a new 4 lane Bridge over the Rail Road and MARTA tracks landing at Peachtree Road jogging left over Clyde Road over to Shallowford where it will cross Peachtree industrial and connect to North Shallowford/North Peachtree . The project ID is TIA-DK-057 Buford Highway Peachtree Industrial Connector. It's description is on page 99 of the 192 page full project listing report at http://www.atlantaregionalroundtable.com/documents/final_report.pdf
City? AreYouNuts? July 06, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Improving traffic means moving more cars. Each car burns gas, carries about 1.3 people (driver + avg. passengers), creates pollution, wears down the roads, increases traffic, increases traffic jams, creates additional demands on every related resource -- police, fire, road crews, parking, etc. Paving the way for more cars to move more easily I have to agree is neither a viable nor a long term solution. In the short term it will slow traffic down during construction; in the long term -- MORE cars on the roads. They want another penny to do an assortment of selected projects which can at best increase the flow of cars. This flow is a natural deterrent to additional traffic. I've paid that additional penny in tax to MARTA for many years and have a smelly, slow, ugly, poorly conceived, managed, and corrupt system that is so undesirable that practically only those who have to ride it. The proof is in the regular commuter traffic: if MARTA was a desirable alternative, traffic would be light during rush-hour EXCEPT to park-ride and train station lots. That would be the mark of a successful system. One look at I-285, I-85 or I-75 North or South within 2 hours of rush-hour on either side will prove to you MARTA is close to a failure in terms of satisfying commuter demand in and around Atlanta! How is bringing current infrastructure back to the same condition and other projects to increase traffic flow really succeeding to reduce the pain of commuting in Atlanta?
Jack of Kings July 06, 2012 at 08:40 PM
TSPLOST sounds like a good idea if they would include a LEGAL guarantee that the tax increase would not be extended after ten years. Otherwise, we will just have another broken promise like the 400 toll
Eric H July 06, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I take MARTA to work daily. Once they took the carpets out of the train the smell problem was eliminated. Trains are full at rush hour. But as long as we have zoning codes that basically require free parking at job sites and funds roads with property taxes and now sales taxes its hard for transit to compete. With that said if you learn the train schedule for your local MARTA stop its a very time efficient mode of transportation.
Eric H July 06, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Well it is guaranteed to end after 10 years. The problem is we will be asked to vote for an new list of projects and since the TSPLOST will build more infrastructure that needs to be maintained we will be painted into a corner in terms of voting no since they money from it will be needed even more. If it passes now it passes forever. Just like the School Splost.
Bill Lowe July 07, 2012 at 02:23 AM
This transportation bill would be better suited to be a 3-4 cent per gallon/aviation fuel/jet fuel/gasoline/diesel tax rather than an across the board sales tax on items purchased. Car drivers may not notice the additional cost per gallon because it is already 3.00 a gallon. Using a transportation fuel tax would cover the entire state, broken down into zones or areas, and would be funded solely off of transportation related equipment that uses the roads and transportation infrastructure. Will it yield as much money as a 1 cent additional sales tax? I am not sure, but it would only tax those buying the fuel for the transporation devices that use the infrastructure. This will probably be defeated, and should be reintroduced as a fuel tax that may not require an additional public vote. Current fuel taxes can be found at the link below. Does anyone know what this tax money is used for currently? https://etax.dor.ga.gov/salestax/bulletins/Bulletin_-_Prepaid_State_Tax_-_Jan_2012.pdf
Thomas T Telford July 07, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Once they start to get your money they will keep getting your money. Ala 400.
Alex H July 17, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Georgia is already a donor state with regards to fuel taxes. And with congressional parity required at the state level, Metro Atlanta is a donor region. A regional sales tax is a better option to get money spent on the specific project list in Metro Atlanta.

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