Lance Lamberton, president of a local anti-tax group, has been an enthusiastic warrior against the county’s special purpose local option sales tax referendums.
Lamberton, who is Libertarian, has been appointed by Commissioner Lisa Cupid, a Democrat, to serve on the SPLOST 2011 Oversight Committee — the group that monitors the county’s SPLOST program.
The Board of Commissioners will vote on whether to approve the appointment at its 9 a.m. meeting today.
“While Lance Lamberton may be known for being anti-tax, he is also for tax dollars being wisely spent in the district and across Cobb,” Cupid said Monday. “He, along with the policy analyst and sales professional I have appointed, should serve to our county’s benefit.”
In 2005, commissioners appointed a 15-member citizen group to provide oversight of SPLOST funds, ensuring that the collections were spent in an expedient and accountable manner, county spokesman Robert Quigley said. In November 2011, the commissioners expanded the scope of the committee’s duties to include all projects in the 2011 SPLOST program.
Lamberton, who lives in Austell in Cupid’s district, said he and Cupid know each other from shopping at the same grocery store.
“I think there’s a mutual respect there between the two of us,” Lamberton said. “She said, ‘Look, I know you were against SPLOST, but since SPLOST has already happened, I think that you probably have a good perspective on making sure that the SPLOST dollars are spent in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible.”
Lamberton has been involved in tax reform groups for much of his life. He formed the Cobb Taxpayers Association in 2005 to fight the 2005 county SPLOST. The group went dormant before coming back to fight the 2011 SPLOST. He has yet to come across a SPLOST he will endorse, he said.
“We need tax relief,” Lamberton said. “There’s too much wasteful, boondoggle spending involved in every single SPLOST that we’ve encountered.”
His group has now turned its attention to the Marietta City Council’s proposed $35 million bond to redevelop Franklin Road, a proposal he has criticized. Lamberton said he’s also worked with state Rep. John Carson (R-northeast Cobb) to change the law and allow for a fractional SPLOST rather than one that collects the full 1 percent.
“I want to be very credible, very responsible, but my first responsibility is to the taxpayer and to ensure that since the money is allocated that they get maximum value from the taxes that they spend, and that we make sure that the right contractors at the right price get those contracts done,” Lamberton said of his appointment.
Lamberton, 62, and his wife, Cheryl, have two grown children. A native of New York City, he earned a bachelor’s in geography at Syracuse University and a master’s in American history at New York University.
Lamberton said he worked in the Reagan White House in the 1980s as deputy director of the White House Office of Policy Information. He has also worked for the National Taxpayers Union.
“The government should exist to do those things that the private sector can’t do,” he said. “But if the private sector can do it, they almost invariably can do it better than government.”