Ed-SPLOST has not earned your support
by Lance Lamberton
Columnist
March 19, 2013 12:00 AM | 1228 views | 12 12 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In considering how to vote in today’s SPLOST referendum, ask yourself: Has the school district spent wisely with the over $2 billion dollars that they have taxed from us since 1998?

Well, they’ve built a lot of hugely expensive projects, like the more than $14 million Lassiter High School performing arts center. And then there has been spending on a multitude of lower-profile projects, like artificial turf for practice fields, or granite counter-tops for what were otherwise perfectly good and serviceable concession stands.

In this SPLOST, there is three times as much spending allocated to sports, entertainment and recreation than there is for education. The project list also calls for expanding infrastructure when they can’t even afford to maintain what they already have.

Take, for example, their $30 million Career Academy. They don’t know where it will be located, how much the land will cost, who can attend or how they will get students there, and they have no budget for teachers, administration and maintenance.

Meanwhile, after spending over $2 billion in the past 15 years, we still have leaking roofs, pre-fab buildings throughout the district and safety issues that need to be addressed. Could it be that they are deliberately skewing their spending priorities so they will always have a justification for a continuous SPLOST?

At same time, advocates love to threaten us if they don’t get their way. In one of their ads they say “property taxes would have to be raised to pay for a bond” if we don’t pass this SPLOST. This is exactly what they said about the 2011 County SPLOST. Their slogan was: “Keep property taxes low. Vote YES.” Then five months later, they raised property taxes anyway. Moreover, in their lust for more tax revenue, they’ve managed to almost max out the legally permitted property tax millage rate, so there isn’t much room to raise it even further.

Besides, if they put a bond on the ballot, it still has to pass muster with the voters. And with bonds, there is transparency that doesn’t exist with the vague promises in this SPLOST of what they might ultimately end up doing with the money, like with the Career Academy or which schools they plan to replace and where the new ones might be located. They keep us in the dark like mushrooms in the name of flexibility, but I’ll take accountability and transparency over flexibility anytime.

And threatening us with tax increases if they don’t get their way resembles the behavior of a petulant child who says if you don’t play ball the way I want and according to my rules, then I’m taking away the ball. Problem is, it’s not their ball! That ball belongs to we the taxpayers, and we have a golden opportunity to take it back today.

If there is any doubt as to how far they will try to go if they don’t get their way, consider this: Not only will they try to pass massive bonds to pay for every wasteful project in this SPLOST, but some are calling for a permanent 1 percent sales tax in Cobb above and beyond this SPLOST.

And for you seniors, hold on to your wallets. In a recent Internet post, one supporter warned: “For our senior community that does not pay school property taxes, your exemptions will be the next on the block.” (emphasis mine)

Personally, I like the butcher metaphor, because it makes it clear how they really regard the taxpayer. What they seem to forget is that they work for us, and if they are not responsible with the money we give them, then it’s time for them to go back to the drawing board and give us a SPLOST that offers good value for our money.

Defeating this SPLOST would be a wake-up-call to the school board, letting them know that you are the boss, and that until they understand that, their SPLOST will receive a vote of NO confidence. All that it takes is for 50 percent of you plus one to just say NO.

Lance Lamberton is the president and founder of the Cobb Taxpayers Association.
Comments
(12)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
lancethebully
|
March 20, 2013
Hey, Lance! How's it going today? Are you going to release another robocall apologizing to the seniors for your intimidating and inappropriate scare tactics? You really sunk to a new low. Shame on you and the jerk who came up with that idea. You're a bunch of classless bullies. Oh...PS...it didn't work.
solved
|
March 20, 2013
You do not have to look any further than the operator of "Citizen Georgia" to find out who put out the robocalls.
Tony Cain
|
March 21, 2013
The only "bullies" in this are the elected officials who bring up the SPLOST vote at an irregular time in a special election on only single question ballots at the cost of nearly a half million dollars for taxpayers.

Time to change the SPLOST laws and require voter notification for ALL elections and do away with "special elections."
Tony Cain
|
March 19, 2013
I do not have any more money for artificial turf, performing arts centers, career academies, parking lots, football stadiums or anything else.

I need my money to pay my expenses so I won't be on the streets.

Vote NO, especially you seniors and working poor who will have to pay this sales tax, especially on your electric, water, gas and phone bills.
@ Lance
|
March 19, 2013
Misleading the voters with your own robo calls. Shame on you.

So the Cobb Taxpayers Association put out a completely false robocall last night to seniors in Cobb. The call claimed that a YES vote would take away their senior exemption on property taxes. WHAT? I would think that a NO vote would be more likely to lead folks to call for a removal of the exemption for seniors since the CCSD would have less money to fund the system. Let's debate the issues, not make up complete lies.
Despicable Tactic
|
March 19, 2013
Lance - As a senior who supports our schools, I found your Cobb Taxpayers Association robo-call despicable.

Your call suggested the Ed-SPLOST vote was a trick to do away with the senior tax exemption.

That's 100% false. Your claim is a boldfaced lie. Counter the point at your whim.

As a self reputed expert concerning these affairs, you've sullied your standing in this community.

Ignorance of the facts is not an excuse for your scare tactic.

The senior school property tax exemption is part of the Georgia Constitution (local legislation) and it has NOTHING to do with sales tax.

Thankfully, schools have no say concerning the senior school tax exemption. The only way the exemption will ever change is through Georgia's General Assembly, followed by a voter approved amendment to Georgia's Constitution.
Pay more interest
|
March 19, 2013
Yes, very sensible. Let's pay millions in interest on bonds instead.
Devlin Adams
|
March 19, 2013
Are you not aware that bonds must be approved by the same voters who are going to turn down SPLOSTIV?

What makes you think they will approve the bond issues?

Use your head.
MVinson
|
March 19, 2013
i'm all for a lot of the projects on the list...but only AFTER we have all our finances in order..great point about the career academy...the SPLOST only funds the building of it...not the operational needs(maintenance, staff)
Lawrence04
|
March 19, 2013
@ Lance

Only Lance can be counted on to make the non-fictional fictional.

As usual, he uses half-truths and mis-statements to support his pre-disposed anti-tax platform.

His own anti-splost friend, Tom Malloy, admitted in the MDJ that taxes will go up if SPLOST does pass. That's the truth, look it up.

And as for his quote of the 'internet poster' threatening the seniors, yep that was made up too.

Why doesn't he mention the HALF BILLION DOLLARS saved in debt interest payments over the last 14 years?

Why is he so desperate to force only Cobb citizens to carry 100% of the tax burden for our schools when we could raise over $200M from visitors and commuters to Cobb over the next 5 years?

Why is he so intent on eliminating teacher jobs when the school districts have to use operating budgets to pay for capital projects?

He offers no solutions just fiction and doom.
Devlin Adams
|
March 19, 2013
Okay, Lawrence04, now go over to the Chamber of Commerce and get your pittance for writing this nonsense.
Tony Cain
|
March 19, 2013
Teacher jobs? You mean football jobs and construction jobs.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides