AJC: “Cherokee could be tough sell on transit vote”

The latest edition in the AJC’s ongoing series about the upcoming vote to increase Georgia’s sales tax explores the reaction in Cherokee County. I will post some highlights below but you should read the whole thing here.

But it’s an open question whether using part of the transportation tax for mass transit somewhere else in the region might be a lightning rod for residents in the distant suburbs, including Cherokee.

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A public-private project to add toll lanes to I-75/I-575 in Cobb and Cherokee counties could wind up on the final list of projects the tax would fund.

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“People in our group will actively oppose it,” he said. “We think the government needs to back off and let this economy recover a little bit first.”

The snippets above illustrate three of the biggest challenges facing the state of Georgia and the various Chambers of Commerce which are pushing the tax increase.

First, the majority of urban dwellers won’t vote for higher taxes to pay for roads while the majority of suburban dwellers won’t vote for higher taxes to pay for mass transit they won’t use. Watching tax increase advocates attempt to convince both groups they will get what they want should be entertaining.

Second, will taxpayers vote for higher taxes to build toll roads that will take even more money out of their pockets? I can’t speak for Cherokee County residents but based on our experience with the false promises about GA 400 tolls in Fulton County I personally wouldn’t make that mistake again.

Third, the U.S. economy is in the tank so is it really the time to take more money from people suffering from 10% unemployment, sinking property values and rampant inflation for food and gas? I think politicians are underestimating how sick taxpayers are of being asked to did deeper and deeper for more taxes regardless of how good the cause.

There are a lot of politicians, consultants, lobbyists and developers dedicated to passing this tax increase and don’t doubt for a minute that they will do whatever it takes to get it passed. They will also promise gullible voters anything to get their vote so don’t forget my maxim when it comes to tax increases,”Once you vote to give the government your money they will do with it what they damn well please.”

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