Voting in favor were David Banks, who came up with the idea, outgoing chairwoman Lynda Crowder-Eagle and lame ducks John Abraham and John Crooks. Voting against the proposal were David Morgan, Alison Bartlett and lame duck Holli Cash.
Cash shucked her usual cheerleading role and warned flatly, "it will be turned around on this board. Number one, we're going to roll back the millage. What happens when this goes away?" Having to raise the millage after the "temporary" tax expired, "That concerns me," she said. But such concern did not hinder the majority.
Bartlett, a common-sense conservative, pointed out that despite there being enough classrooms for all students, the district is using trailers, and Cobb citizens are not seeing the benefits of taxes they pay. "We are taxing our citizens and they are not seeing it. They are not seeing the benefits to education," she said. But her objection likewise was dismissed by the board majority.
Perhaps the worst of this latest excursion into la-la land is that lame ducks Abraham and Crooks had the audacity to cast such a vote less than two months before their successors take office. Aside from that wrong-headedness, there are big problems with this proposal.
The obvious first problem is that raising taxes any time is unpopular but rejection of this proposal would be off the charts in a time of economic malaise when thousands of people in Cobb are among the 15 million unemployed nationwide.
The second problem is that the county's legislative delegation is about as likely to approve the proposal as they are to take a flying leap off the top of the new courthouse. After receiving an e-mail from Banks about the proposal, State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) and Rep. Sharon Cooper said they doubted the delegation would support the tax hike. Cooper candidly observed that the idea "would have very little chance of going anywhere within the Cobb delegation."
The third problem is that even if the legislative delegation approved submitting the proposal in a referendum, the idea that Cobb County voters would vote for a higher sales tax is a non-starter - especially since senior citizens would not be exempt from the new tax, same as applies with SPLOSTs. These taxes are levied on groceries, gasoline and all other retail sales, a special concern of retired people on fixed incomes.
This is an idea whose time has not come. The school board majority should drop this proposal, stop wasting their time and that of our legislators, and leave such matters to the new school board.