Editor, The governor and the General Assembly are attempting to change the time-honored Georgia Constitution, whereas counties are the local constituted authorities for governmental operations, and pass that authority to a regional roundtable. The General Assembly and the governor want to add another layer of government — not elected — called the regional roundtables.
Under this plan, the larger-populated counties will have power over the smaller populated counties because the power of the individual vote is no longer in the cities and counties but on a regional level.
This TSPLOST vote is about more than a 1 percent sales tax. It is about a fundamental change of government in Georgia, and this without elected representatives. If this TSPLOST passes, this will lend credibility to the regional roundtables, and more control of local governments will be forthcoming through the regional level. County commissioners only will be needed to pass along what the regional roundtable decides. If this prevails, I foresee there will be no need for county commissioners, only county managers.
Giving authority to a non-elected roundtable for taxation purposes and voting on a plurality within a region is something new. I am saddened that our elected officials would even consider such an idea without the approval of the voters in each county, with each county’s vote being legal. Either there should be a statewide vote, as normal, on this tax, or they should go back and do the job they were elected to do. It’s time to quit passing the buck and knuckle down and do what we sent them there to do.
As the roundtables are formed now, I have people representing me from all the other 12 counties in my region. I didn’t vote for them, I don’t know them and I sure as heck don’t want to give them taxing powers when they don’t have to play by the same rules as cities and counties.
To me, the 1 percent tax is not so much the issue — the issue is another level of government in which the governor and the General Assembly have put the cart before the horse and have left the voters out of the equation of forming another layer of government called a region based on a plurality of votes in the region but with no representation.
I will vote “no” for the TSPLOST — not to the tax, but to an unelected regional roundtable. And I hope governmental power remains local.
— Mike Sims