Savage tried to make his point Tuesday evening during a candidate forum conducted by the Cobb Republican Women’s Club by holding up several posters, but the moderator said that was against the rules.
“The ballot that I was going to show you has a statement added to it that says I’m the best candidate,” Savage told the audience. “That wouldn’t be fair, and everybody knows that. But the real ballot has a statement added to it saying the TSPLOST is really a good thing.”
The mock ballot Savage wanted to show the audience lists the names of the four candidates for chairman — Mike Boyce, Bill Byrne, Tim Lee and Savage. At the bottom of the poster, it reads: “Larry is really a great guy, a wonderful humanitarian, kind to animals and small children, picks up trash on the street and is always courteous to his elders. He is clearly the right choice.”
The Cobb Board of Elections website lists the official ballot language for the TSPLOST as stating: “Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight.”
The official ballot goes on to state: “Shall Cobb County’s transportation system and the transportation network in this region and the state be improved by providing for a 1 percent special district transportation sales and use tax for the purpose of transportation projects and programs for a period of 10 years?”
Commission chairman Tim Lee said he has no problems with the wording.
“That describes exactly what it is,” Lee said.
Georgia Secretary of State spokesman Jared Thomas said the responsibility for the language is Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s. Thomas passed along a statement Kemp wrote in describing why he authored the language the way he did.
“Ultimately, the language in the preamble is all referenced in the original legislation that was passed over three years ago,” Kemp said. “The preamble language exists for this reason and this reason only.”
Before his time ran out at the candidate forum, Savage ripped into the TSPLOST itself, first pointing out how the local county SPLOSTs have become permanent in Cobb County, with education SPLOST after education SPLOST and county SPLOST after county SPLOST continuing to be renewed by voters.
“Once again we’re told we have insurmountable problems that can only be resolved by voting for a new tax,” Savage said. “When we study the plan, we find that it doesn’t produce the advertised results. We find another temporary tax that will never end but will likely increase. We find the largest tax increase in Georgia history. We find real estate insiders who aren’t even subject to our meager state ethics laws. There’s a multi-million (dollar) ad campaign to convince us to vote yes, financed illegally in my opinion by involved interests who stand to benefit from the results if the TSPLOST passes. There’s no comment from our elected officials about this practice.”