Editor, I have recently had the fortune to visit Hinesville. Over the course of the 10 or 12 years, I have visited your fine city. And I will tell you, you have some of the finest restaurants I have ever had the gastronomic pleasure to frequent. As a frequent visitor, I manage to keep abreast of some of the local politics and policies. Having family and friends doesn’t hurt in that respect.
Even from afar, I seem to have a better grasp of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax from almost 900 miles away than Mr. Terry Doyle (“Gold Mine to Commissioners, Shaft to Citizens,” blog posted Oct. 22 on coastalcourier.com) has from right next door. Based on the economy of the area, and with a substantial number of transients, a SPLOST is the most-equitable means of taxation. It is a 1 percent sales tax that applies to all purchases, and its duration is for six years, and then it expires. Oh, were that only the case with Pennsylvania’s sales tax.
Anything and everything the SPLOST income is to be spent on must be identified at the time of the vote to approve. And only capital improvements are covered in the SPLOST. No salaries. No miscellaneous spending on pet projects. No “miscellaneous” items.
SPLOST is not directly connected to any change in property taxes. Indirectly, perhaps. The improvements that were going to be covered by a defeated SPLOST would have to be covered by general revenue (taxes), and that might cause an increase in taxes.
Oh, here I would ask that you give Mr. Doyle a civics lesson. The SPLOST vote is on the November 2016 ballot, which is 52 weeks away. Not Tuesday, as he misinformed the public in his rambling blog.
Along the same civics-lesson line, there are a multitude of taxing authorities in Liberty County. Don’t forget the Board of Education, the Hospital Authority, the Development Authority as well as the city of Hinesville. Each has the power to levy taxes without consultation with any other authority. As a result, the tax increase to which Mr. Doyle repeatedly refers could have easily been created by one or more of the other taxing authorities. Just as in your own household, the cost of “doing business” has gone up. The same applies to the cost of running a government, whether it be a town, city, county or state. Well over half of my taxes here in my corner of the world are from the school district.
I know for a fact that many of the county employees haven’t had a salary increase in seven or eight years. I rhetorically ask Mr. Doyle, “When was your pay raise?” A little consideration for the people that make it happen is in order here.
Also, Doyle’s comment about Georgia’s rise in unemployment claims in 2009 and the income generated by the then-extant SPLOST leaves me with a headache. I can’t make the connection.
Finally, that was 2009. This is nearly 2016. Isn’t it illegal to beat a dead horse in Georgia? In closing, what does a gold mine in Alaska have to do with anything in Liberty County?
Just trying to clear some things up.