Republican brand at stake, with tricking but no treating in Cobb
by Laura Armstrong
Columnist
October 27, 2011 10:02 AM | 5389 views | 6 6 comments | 102 102 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Halloween is upon us, and I'm reminded of local politicians running around in Republican masks, even as their actions suggest they've long since left the lower tax, less government side of the political spectrum.

As former commission chair Bill Byrne told MDJ reporter Jon Gillooly, "Tim (Lee) has raised, in the middle of a double dip recession with 16 percent unemployment and 11 percent foreclosure increase over last year at this time ...our property taxes by 16 percent."

"There was an alternative," Byrne said, referring to his proposed $34 million budget cut. "But they chose to raise taxes."

Like Bill, who hopes to oust current chairman Tim Lee in next year's election, many fiscal conservatives in the county are shaking their heads at current leadership, wondering how they've abandoned the principles we've personally heard them espouse for years. They're obviously not letting this economic crisis go to waste.

Add to that their continuing assertions that we should depend on the federal government as the answer to the task of completing a massively expensive transportation/rail line, or maybe a "premium bus service" and who knows what else the special interests have planned for us, even though senators and congressmen have said it won't happen. Far from leading based on principles, the elected officials who continue this Halloween fantasy are supporting the proposed tax through their actions if not necessarily admitting it openly. It's easy to see they've joined the ranks of those who claim Cobb will somehow be left behind unless we agree to tax ourselves yet again.

There's more wrong with that entire scenario if you're conservative than I want to cite here.

The point is, local leaders' masks have slipped and it's too late to get them back on.

Byrne, who is a former Marine combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam and not always recognized for being the smiliest guy in the room, is telling the tough truths (“Byrne - A good opportunity for Tim,” Oct. 26 MDJ). He reminded us all that the property tax increase is the most publicized one, but there are more tricks we haven't discussed yet.

In both the January and August sessions, the Board of Commissioners approved a 6 percent increase in water rates.

"That represents a one mil tax increase on property taxes," Byrne said, on top of the first tax increase.

The commission plans to transfer at least $20 million of that into the general fund next year, he added.

"That's how they balance the budget, but my issue is nobody knows that and that was a sleight of hand trick by doing it in two phases so that nobody would pick up on it. But a 12 percent increase in water has a huge impact on small businesses."

It's already had a huge impact on our family with a college grad daughter, home and saving to move out on her own. Her increased water use plus the new rate increase has almost doubled our water bill.

Seems to me our leadership and the special interests who control them are up for lots of tricks, while we're left holding the bag, no treats in sight. Is that a "Bwa-ha-ha" I hear, coming from their haunted house? I think so.

Comments
(6)
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anonymous
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October 29, 2011
The Hot lanes planned for Cobb are new lanes located away from the main traffic flow so we will not lose any lanes.
Last GA Democrat
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October 29, 2011
By the way...The state plans to extend the HOT lane concept all over the metro area to the tune of $16 BILLION.

This article in the 10/8/11 edition of the Toll Road News gives some insight into how much the state is in love with the HOT lane concept (be sure to scroll down to the section of the page titled "Managed Lane Network"):

http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/5540
Last GA Democrat
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October 29, 2011
by Laura Armstrong

Columnist



October 27, 2011 10:02 AM

"Add to that their continuing assertions that we should depend on the federal government as the answer to the task of completing a massively expensive transportation/rail line, or maybe a "premium bus service" and who knows what else the special interests have planned for us, even though senators and congressmen have said it won't happen."

That "premium bus service" and the funds set aside for the proposed rail line from the proposed TSPLOST are actually secretly pegged to go to the $1 BILLION HOT Lane project that the state wants to build on Interstates 75 and 575 outside of I-285 in Cobb and Cherokee Counties.

The state TOTALLY and COMPLETELY lacks the funding for the project at this time as just the $300 million state-funded part of that single project alone is more than the road construction and maintenance budget for the ENTIRE state.

The state's only way of funding the HOT lane project (you know, the HOT lanes that have caused so MUCH gridlock and anger on I-85 Northeast in DeKalb and Gwinnett Counties) is to wait to raid Cobb County's portion of TSPLOST revenues to fund it.

Save yourselves Cobb County, vote NO to the TSPLOST if you want to keep your sanity!!!!

« Water waste wrote on Friday, Oct 28 at 12:17 PM »

"By the way the TSPLOST was pushed on us by the state and if a majority of metro Atlanta approves we have to go along."

I wouldn't worry about that being a problem anymore as the debacle with the HOT lanes on I-85 in Northeast Metro Atlanta has caused what modest support there was for the TSPLOST to severely tank in North DeKalb and all of Gwinnett, whose support is a must for the referendum to pass.

The very angry backlash against the state's bungled implementation of Lexus Lanes on I-85 and the resulting widespread gridlock on freeways and surface streets alike throughout the ENTIRE I-85 Northeast Corridor has caused angry commuters and taxpayers in the state's second-largest county and the state's largest enclave of Republican voters in Gwinnett to want to overwhelmingly want to vote against the proposed TSPLOST because they want to send a LOUD message to deaf politicians and do NOT want to see their taxes increased to support expensive and HARMFUL boondoggles like the I-85 HOT lanes.

Support for the TSPLOST in Gwinnett was at about 50% before the HOT lanes went into effect, after a month of getting the run-around from shameless lying state bureaucrats and unresponsive and uncaring state politicians while the congestion-worsening, gridlock-inducing HOT lanes have been in effect, support for the TSPLOST in Gwinnett has dropped down to about 20%.

Cobb County, don't vote for the TSPLOST, because you will bitterly REGRET it if you do.

anonymous
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October 28, 2011
Pat H is Larry Salvage folks!
Water waste
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October 28, 2011
Laura, Put a flow restrictor on your faucets and turn the water off when you shave. As a byrne supporter what do you think of Bedmeister or his hate for the gay? By the way the TSPLOST was pushed on us by the state and if a majority of metro Atlanta approves we have to go along. Our commissioners only approved projects that they felt would use the money. If they did not fund transit the money would likely have gone elsewhere since most roads in Cobb are recently restored and the Interstates are as wide as the public will accept.
Pat H
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October 27, 2011
We do not have conservative Republicans in office in Cobb - they tax and spend like Democrats. Even the Republican Party picked Joe Dendy for chair - you know the one who supported the SPLOST so we could avoid a property tax increase?

Sam Olens taught Tim Lee, except Sam was able to hide his former Democratic ties and pandering to all groups from developers and LaRaza groups.

Both Tim Lee and Mark Matthews were chosen for the regional transportation board. They both have filed bankruptcy in the past. They can't manage their own finances and did not seem capable of working two jobs when things got tough. I have worked two jobs and saved money so when emergencies occurred I was prepared. I guess that is why our county emergency fund is bust yet no county workers were laid off.

They squandered our street light funds and water funds for what? The little kids safety village is nice but not when you are raiding our money illegally and raising taxes.

We would not be having this discussion if the rest of you voted for Larry Savage. This newspaper endorsed Tim Lee and I hope they reassess that for the next election.
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