More than 21,000 of you fell for that slogan and, by a slim margin of 79 votes, elected to continue the SPLOST tax. You listened to Citizens for Cobb's Future, a small group of Cobb elites, most of whom were merely parroting sound bites fed them by their special interest friends.
At the time, you didn't know that the pro-SPLOST group paid an average of $11.60 for each vote they got, and some of that came from county tax dollars.
The SPLOST opponents paid only 11 cents per vote, all of which came from individuals in increments of $5, $10 or $20.
You believed that somehow the $492 million dollars that will be taken out of your pockets over the next four years could fill the $30 million shortfall in Cobb's operating budget even though the law prohibits SPLOST funds from being used for that purpose.
You bought the entire song and dance that supported a project list that makes no sense in the context of Cobb's flat economy, 10 percent unemployment and one of the highest home foreclosure rates in the nation.
Worse still, most of you didn't even bother to vote at all, and that is a shameful thing.
But before you beat yourself up too much, consider that the Cobb Commission was considerably less than forthcoming about Cobb's budgetary problems. The $30 million budget shortfall was down-played and not widely publicized.
The Citizens' Committee that was supposed to report on the state of the County's finances before the election never was formed.
You didn't get the gruesome details until after you voted. Still, there were a lot of voices out there warning you, but you chose not to pay attention.
So now, we're getting new concession stands and scoreboards in 21 parks, some of which will be closed because they have no operating budget. The Fire Department will get new trucks and life-saving equipment, but the men and women who operate them will be furloughed because there is no money to pay their salaries. Libraries will be renovated, but will close early due to a lack of funds. But don't worry, you'll still get those road dividers and sidewalks along sparsely inhabited county roads. Sounds kind of silly now, doesn't it?
Oh yeah, that $30 million hole in the operating budget? It will be closed, most likely by an increase in your property taxes. Commissioner Helen Goreham says that a millage rate hike should be considered due to a decrease in Cobb's tax digest over the past two years. Ms. Goreham doesn't mention that had she not insisted on wasting $20 million to purchase the Bullard/Stockton/SwingTime property for a "green space," Cobb's tax digest would have been greatly enhanced by the multi-use private project that was barred by the commission from building there. And of course, Wal-Mart tried to build in that area too, but had to go two miles down the road to Paulding County, because of the Commission's anti-business decision.
So much for the argument that the SPLOST will attract businesses to Cobb County.
Now aren't you glad you voted for the 2011 SPLOST? County services will be cut, county workers will be laid off and your property taxes will go up, but you still get to pay that penny sales tax on everything you buy. Can't get much better than that. And those green and white signs along Cobb's roadways?
Let's keep 'em up to remind us of this folly come the next election.
Tom Maloy is a retired Cobb County business owner, past president of the Rotary Club of Marietta and a member of the Georgia Tea Party Board of Directors.