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SPLOST failure not a free pass for tax hikes; cut spending instead
Letter to the editor

Editor, Referring to the headline in the Sunday Courier, let me, too, say that my concerns are aroused by the proposed millage-rate increases.
The voters spoke and are not interested in increasing taxes. Thus, I feel it is incumbent on the political subdivision to run their houses like I run mine — on income. Just because the voters denied the SPLOST, it was not a green light to raise taxes. The drill is to reduce spending to operate within the budget.
Yes, some 67 percent of the current budget is allocated to mandatory services. That does not mean that there could not be savings within these areas. I don’t think that deputy sheriffs need to patrol in SUVs at $48,550 when the police package sedan can be purchased for $27,340. And the sedan will represent further savings in upkeep and operating costs.
I could go on and on for pages, but it is sufficient to say that excess, unnecessary and foolish spending is rampant everywhere. I see little effort to save money any place in Liberty County. I am overly confident that good eyes and sharp pencils could trim the fat out of the budgets.
And don’t threaten me with property-tax increases. If our officials do not have the ability to trim the budget and property taxes are increased, I still see more money in my pocket than had the SPLOST been passed.  
The millage-rate increase example showed a property-tax increase of about $65 on the median-value home. All one has to do is spend $550 per month at the 1 percent reduced tax rate, and you are money ahead of the property-tax increase. And if you buy a new $25,000 car this year, you save an additional $250.  
Then I stopped to think. Why are the politicians so uptight about this tax vote-down? Could it be that their fat-cat friends with large real-estate holdings will be more affected than the $65 figure?
And those 65,000 transit spenders will not stop coming to Liberty County when our taxes are lower than other places. Heck, they might even bring their friends with them.
In closing, let me mention that the “S” in SPLOST is for “Special.” It is not a Permanent Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

— Joe Gillam

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