Wednesday, January 25, 2017
IT IS ONLY A PENNY, RIGHT?
Counties and cities use the ballot to get extra revenue for special projects. These municipalities use an election to insert a referendum for special funding. Referred to as a SPLOST, (“Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax,) it will show up on the ballot to add a penny sales tax to all county or city purchases. It is for a set time and will expire as soon as the anniversary date is complete. At which time, there will be another urgent need that has to be addressed with another special penny tax, and it starts all over again. It is always worded to make everyone think it is for the good of all involved and if the area has much tourist traffic, the “out of towners,” will pay most of it. Voters can choose to have it or they can reject it. The way the amendments are proposed fool many people and often they don’t realize how some of this special interest money actually affects them personally. Most think very little of an extra penny. That isn’t very much to pay to get certain advantages in the community. The problem is that many SPLOST amendments are slipped in on elections that are not super publicized like a Presidential election. Most only benefit a special faction who have lobbied for the extra tax to go toward their favorite hobby or activity. This special faction will make sure their people who are of like mind turn out to vote. If the election isn’t a high profile election, so the amendment could pass by a majority of votes because the overall voter participation is low. No big deal, it is only a penny, right? Wrong, if you are in for a penny, you’re in for a pound. Taxpayers need to ask themselves these kind of questions: How many times a week does one go to play these sports? Do you have children in the school system? If one is retired, of how much benefit do these new things provide for the average senior? Will these improvements bring tourism or will they attract elements that are not so desirable? Will it add to or detract from property values? If any of the answers to these questions are negative, think of the financial burden it can bring. When a new vehicle is purchased for $ 25,000.00, the extra sales tax on it is an additional $ 250.00. This comes straight out of pocket upon signing and is not rolled into the loan. What about at the grocery store? Some states do not require sales tax on food, but the counties or the cities do. That extra 1% on the $100.00 is another dollar gone. Buy a washer and dryer for $ 800.00, that is an eight more dollars gone. As many times as the average person buys things they need, or want, this tax bill begins to add up to a substantial sum. Multiply that by the population of the area, and it grows exponentially. Remember to do all of the math when voters are asked to pony up for the next doodad that is on the county agenda. Is your penny well spent or just another monetary burden on the average taxpayer?