Don McKee: Grassroots movement being launched to oppose TSPLOST plan
by Don McKee
Columnist
April 27, 2012 12:00 AM | 1803 views | 2 2 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
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The opposition is getting organized against the proposed Transportation Investment Act or TSPLOST to be voted on July 31. And not a moment too soon: Already the chambers of commerce and other deep-pocket backers are spending big bucks supporting the added one-cent regional sales tax in the 10-county metro area.

Now the Georgia Taxpayers Alliance says it will “lead a grassroots campaign” to defeat the TSPLOST, estimated to cost metro taxpayers “more than $7 billion over 10 years.” James Bell, director of the alliance, announced the campaign Wednesday.

“We’re working with a coalition being formed,” Bell said in a telephone interview yesterday. The coalition is expected to include the tea party and other groups opposing the regional sales tax that would raise an estimated $6.14 billion over 10 years.

Bell, a Lithia Springs videographer, said he and his alliance co-founder, Ron Williams, a Gwinnett County barber, do not “do membership” but instead work in building coalitions. He said he is in the process of “identifying 10 activists in 10 counties” to work against the TSPLOST by going to town hall meetings to speak up and help in other ways to energize a grassroots movement. The plan is for the anti-TSPLOST activists to use social networks, write letters to editors and stage public demonstrations, among other activities.

“Our first rally is probably going to be in Gwinnett County,” Bell said. “We will go county by county in the metro area.” But he acknowledged, “It’s like David and Goliath.”

Bell believes there is growing opposition to the TSPLOST, voicing surprise that some business people to whom he has spoken did not know what is in the proposal. Moreover, there is opposition from both ends of the political spectrum, he said, with Tea Party activists against the proposal as going too far, while some people on the left say it doesn’t go far enough.

In the GTA’s news release, Ron Williams said Gwinnett will be a major player in defeating the tax. He cited the HOT (high occupancy toll) lanes that confiscated existing HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lanes and squeezed more traffic into fewer “free” lanes. Such projects, he said, “have made Gwinnett voters skeptical of any proposal to reduce traffic congestion.”

A new anti-TSPLOST movement has been launched in coastal Glynn County. One of the organizers, Jeff Kilgore, said the proposal represents “the largest tax increase in the history of the state,” the Florida Times-Union reported. “The government is addicted to SPLOSTs,” he said.

Kilgore and Dale Provenzano formed the STOP Ballot Committee to urge voters to turn out and vote down the tax proposal. Kilgore said his organization is focusing on the 10-county coastal region, “but we’re also working with many other groups throughout Georgia including the Georgia Tea Party and the Atlanta Tea Party.”

The question is: Can these efforts stir a statewide grassroots movement opposing the TSPLOST? If so, the tax can be defeated — forcing the legislature to come up with a better plan for improving transportation.

dmckee9613@aol.com
Comments
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SG68
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April 27, 2012
Good luck with this effort, but it is hard to counteract a multi million dollar propaganda campaign.

We are going to have to rely on the commom sense of the voters in the Atlanta Region to see through the misinformation being distributed and realize that this is a scam.

Unfortunately most voters are not informed and are going to unwittingly buy into the half truths and fabricated benefits being touted in expensive ubiquitous tv commercials, fancy four color mail outs and the other slick PR materials they will be inundated with over the upcoming months.

As for me and the people in my small "sphere of influence" we are definitely voting NO on this current TSPLOST.

Not because we oppose the concept of addressing our transportation issues, but because we don't think the TIA project list provides any kind of significant solution to our regional transportation problems.

Last GA Democrat
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April 27, 2012
"The question is: Can these efforts stir a statewide grassroots movement opposing the TSPLOST? If so, the tax can be defeated — forcing the legislature to come up with a better plan for improving transportation."

There is no better plan for improving transportation as the Legislature only seems to be good at making things much worse while attempting to line their pockets with taxpayers' money.

It's probably best that the Legislature do what they do best, which is nothing.

At least that way, they can't make things worse.

Tell the Legislature that they'll have to steal our money from somewhere else, vote NO to T-SPLOST!!!!
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