Letter: SPLOST will help keep community competitive

Regardless of the front page anti-Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) ad concerning the government buildings, I agree with your newspaper's "Our View" editorial of March 30, 2017, titled "County's Administrative Building No. 2 has outlived its use". In the editorial the newspaper states that "perhaps a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) could be floated in the coming years to fund a new building".

That comment aside, my question is are we as a community going to give our elected officials the tools needed to stay competitive with other communities and continue to move our community forward?

Our community competes against counties and cities across Georgia for business, newcomers, tourists, quality of life, etc. Our elected officials try to deliver those services and amenities that entice businesses and people to settle here, visit and shop here. These services are provided through three basic revenue streams: property taxes, Local Option Sales Taxes (LOST) and grants/fines/fees. Counties also have the opportunity to approve by vote a SPLOST for capital projects and even a tax to help pay for transportation related items (TSPLOST).

Our elected officials have provided a list of items they believe will enhance our community. The citizens can fund this list by approval of a SPLOST that would begin July 1, 2019 and be collected over six years. The approval of the SPLOST will allow the projects to be addressed quickly with less pressure on the property tax while not changing the present sales tax rate.

Are our local officials asking for something out of the ordinary? Will extending the SPLOST make Whitfield County uncompetitive due to the penny on the dollar tax? County sales tax comparisons show it will not. Georgia has 159 counties. Seventy-seven counties use both the SPLOST and TSPLOST. Eighty-one counties use the SPLOST for capital projects. Are we going to compete with those counties that recognize the usefulness of these special sales taxes? Or do we fund projects with only the three basic revenue streams?

The anti-SPLOST view really means pro-property tax. As a manufacturing center, a center of commerce in northwest Georgia, with five exits along I-75, do we as a community wish to take the SPLOST tool away while competing with 157 counties that use it to move their communities forward?

Mike Babb

Whitfield County

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