When talking taxes, the discourse can get heated. It can get loud. It can get complicated. And when you mix in regional transportation and transit, that discussion in metro Atlanta becomes even more intense.
But that’s as it should be. All of these are complex issues that deserve the public’s thoughtful, measured consideration.
So, whether you support the 2012 regional transportation sales tax referendum or oppose it, please don’t make the mistake of assuming your neighbors think the same way you do. Cobb County is not homogeneous, and the range of views expressed at the Sept. 20 meeting — and all the public comments gathered since the beginning of the TSPLOST conversation — reflects that. When an elected official dismisses citizens’ views out of hand, he does his constituents a great disservice (“Some feel T-SPLOST forum was ‘staged’ event,” Sept. 21 MDJ).
As was mentioned in the article, the Civic League for Regional Atlanta is providing moderators for the Atlanta Regional Roundtable’s 12 public meetings, which conclude on Sept. 29. The Civic League is independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit. Our organization engages metro Atlantans in the plans, policies and issues shaping the region. We educate and inform, we provide neutral forums for decision-making, and we share the feedback we hear from citizens with regional policymakers.
Let me be clear: The Civic League neither supports nor opposes this referendum, and if it were the intent of meeting organizers to persuade attendees to support the referendum, we would not be involved in this process.
After the region’s final project list is announced on Oct. 15, metro Atlanta voters will have at least nine months to debate whether funding those projects with a penny sales tax is a suitable answer to our transportation woes.
The Civic League is committed to providing a neutral forum for citizens to continue to learn and exchange ideas.
We appreciate the civility with which nearly all who have attended these meetings to date have asked questions, shared opinions and listened to those of others, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with residents of all 10 counties.
Civic League for Regional Atlanta