On transit tax, Ga. is mimicking California
Our rally cry in metropolitan Atlanta should be, “Remember California!”
California, the lurching to the left state, announced a $16 billion deficit projection. Why should anyone be surprised?
Businesses are leaving the state in droves due to higher (soon to be higher still) taxes and excessive regulation costs. Likewise, personal income is going down, reducing income tax revenue.
Government spending and pandering to special interests in California at the state and local levels has been outrageous. The liberal Democrat machine is running the state in the ground.
Gov. Jerry Brown wants a massive commuter rail plan that several special state committees have begged him to abandon because to the enormous costs compared to the minimal benefit.
Metropolitan Atlanta leadership is heading into the same swamp because they find certain liberal ideas so appealing. They call it “being progressive” or “offering alternatives” but they cannot justify those positions in a cost-benefit analysis. Their ideas, they think, are worth pursing no matter what the cost.
Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee, while speaking to the liberal Georgia Community Coalition, called his conservative constituents “spoiled brats.”
The “spoiled” conservative Cobb residents had the audacity to demand road projects in the Transportation Investment Act (known as “TSPLOST”) that would actually lessen traffic congestion. They refused to accept the multi-billion dollar boondoggle Cumberland-CID transit rail project that would provide little or no effect on traffic congestion.
At an Executive Committee meeting of the Regional Transportation Roundtable, Gwinnett County Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash, asked a very significant question about the half-funded transit projects in the July 31 TSPLOST referendum. She wondered if the sale tax was not approved for a second 10-year period, how would the projects be finished. After a moment of silence, the only answer offered was each individual local jurisdiction would have to pay the gigantic balances.
Part of the special interest-laden TSPLOST called for the construction of the $609 million Beltline transit rail project which also has nothing to do with relieving traffic congestion.
Here is what the Beltline does: “... a vehicle to restore 45 in-town neighborhoods and guide future development along a 22-mile loop of planned transit.” Does that sound like it is going to improve commute times to work and back? No, but it’s going to make the City of Atlanta a heck of a lot money at our expense.
And, so you will know, the general plan, one given the nod by the Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, regarding MARTA is eventually we all will be paying for it. DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis sums it up, “We need a regional [mass transit] system where everyone participates and everyone pays.” To clarify, “everyone” means every person living in the 10-county Atlanta region (that would be you).
Just like California, Fayette County has its share of special interest waste.
The Terri Smith and Janet Smola era on the Board of Education is the worst case of financial neglect in the board’s history. Although the financial pain is bad enough, other carnage will ensue like closing viable school buildings (some we paid millions of dollars to retrofit) and massive school redistricting because there are no students living near the empty new schools.
Things are not much better with the Board of Commissioners. The board has been rife with special interest goodies. The land speculators and developers now have their new phase I and phase II of the West Fayetteville Bypass.
The new early retirement package is beginning to smell quite bad. Would the majority on the board and senior staff benefitting from the plan really fight an independent review of the package if it was going to show that it saves the county millions of dollars?
There has never been a primary election like the one on July 31 that could end so many wrongs and prevent the continued waste of your tax dollars. It’s your money. Please mark your calendar to go vote.
Fayette Commissioner, Post 4
Peachtree City, Ga.