Around Town: Bill possible this week to lay foundation for Fractional SPLOSTs
by Bill Kinney and Joe Kirby
Around Town Columnists
January 22, 2013 12:21 AM | 3252 views | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CHANCES ARE GOOD that a bill will be introduced in the state House this week that ultimately would allow for local governments to employ “split-penny SPLOSTs.”

State Rep. John Carson (R-Northeast Cobb) told Around Town on Thursday that he would introduce a bill, possibly as soon as this week, that would pave the way for such special local option sales taxes, also known as “fractional SPLOSTs.” The tax would be charged increments of a twentieth of 1 percent, if passed. At present the sales tax can only levied in increments of 1 percent, although receipts from that 1 percent are often divided among several jurisdictions.

In theory, they also would prevent situations in which a governing body, knowing that a full penny SPLOST would raise X amount of dollars, proceeds to inflate its SPLOST-project list in order to match the expected revenues.

The concept has the backing of Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee.

Carson’s bill would apply statewide and allow counties and cities to charge less than a full 1 percent sales tax. A similar bill is soon to be introduced in the state Senate, said Sen. Judson Hill (R-east Cobb).

“Basically I haven’t dropped anything just yet because I’m still garnering support for it in our chamber,” Carson said. “I think our chamber in the House is going to be a little easier than it is in the Senate.”

A similar bill was introduced in the Senate by Hill last year but was not passed. The hang-up then was that the state Constitution mandates that all revenue measures must originate in the House.

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SEN. LINDSEY TIPPINS (R-west Cobb) told Around Town the Cobb School District has approached him in the past about introducing legislation for partial-penny SPLOSTs.

If approved by the Legislature, voters would then have to approve a constitutional amendment before the tax could be levied on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis.

“I have told them I feel like you can accomplish the same thing by doing a SPLOST for a specified number of months based on what your true need is and make a promise to the voters that you won’t go back to them for five years for another tax,” Tippins said. “So if you need to collect 60 cents on the dollar, you could collect it for three years and promise not to go back for five.”

“Now obviously the action of that board would not be legally binding on a subsequent board, but whoever wanted to go back and change that would be facing political suicide, so in actuality you could bind the board so if anybody on the school board says ‘We want to do a partial penny,’ we can accomplish the same thing without a constitutional amendment.”

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THE COBB LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION held its first meeting of this year’s session on Thursday, over submarine sandwiches at lunch on Thursday in the Coverdell Office Building. It was the final meeting with state Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) as delegation chair — and he picked up the tab.

“We decided in the spirit of not knowing what our ethics laws are going to be with respect to lobbyist gifts this is being paid for by your outgoing chairman. This is my swan song. I’m so glad to have served and be moving on.”

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THE DELEGATION elected Sen. Hill as chairman, Sen. Tippins as vice chair and Rep. Sam Teasley (R-Marietta) as secretary/treasurer.

“Condolences,” quipped state Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs).

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KENNESAW City Councilman Bill Trash has taken an authorized leave of absence for the remainder of his term, which runs through Dec. 31.

Thrash, 58, is battling bone cancer, which was first diagnosed as bladder cancer two years ago and has now metastasized.

“I’m fighting it,” he said Friday while in chemotherapy at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta.

Thrash will not run for re-election this fall. However, there is no need to hold a special election, and he will continue to work as much as possible. The leave of absence authorizes him to miss meetings when he feels sick.

Thrash said he will attend as many meetings as he can.

“I’m not sick all the time. It depends on how the chemo is hitting me,” he said.

Thrash, now in his 12th year on council, was named the Northwest Cobb Area Council of the Cobb Chamber’s Citizen of the Year.

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MULLIGANS’ FOOD & SPIRITS — known for the colorful and sometimes controversial sayings posted on its message board out front along Roswell Street in Marietta — is under new ownership. Longtime patron Liz Dunn and her husband, Ray, purchased the tavern Jan. 1 from the heirs of longtime owner Mike Norman, who died last year of lung cancer.

Mrs. Dunn says she plans to work some of her home recipes into the menu but everything else will stay just about the same, including the message board.

“I’m a very conservative girl,” she told A.T. “I’m not just someone who purchased a bar — I’m a historic preservationist!”

Past messages have included the likes of “Immigration Agents Eat Free” and “Cynthia (McKinney): Call Your Proctologist. He’s Found Your Head.”

Says Dunn, “There was only one Mike Norman. He was an awesome guy. But I’m more ‘Mike Lite.’”

More than just a drinking hole, Mulligan’s has a steady lunch clientele as well.

“Our food is made by good Christians and a few sinners, so it’s bound to be good!” Dunn quipped.

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PEOPLE & PLACES: Marietta photographer Johnny Walker will present a slide show titled “Marietta Old & New” at Winnwood Retirement Community in Marietta at 4 p.m. Feb. 6 and at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 21. The public is invited. …

MDJ Edit Page editor Joe Kirby will be speaking to the Roswell Historical Society at 7 p.m. Wednesday at historic Barrington Hall in Roswell about his book, “Marietta: Then & Now.” To RSVP call (770) 640-3855. Cost is $5 to attend. …

A cocktail reception is planned at the Strand on Thursday to kick off the 20th anniversary of the Taste of Marietta.

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MARINE Cpl. Todd Love of Acworth will be on hand for Friday’s donation of a check to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation from the Cobb County Republican Womens’ Club. The TTF builds custom-designed “Smart Homes” for the most severely injured U.S. military personnel, including quadruple and triple amputees.

Love lost three limbs after stepping on a mine in Afghanistan.

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CLARIFICATION: Around Town was slightly off-target in its recent mention of the new book by well-known Smyrna atheist Ed Buckner. The actual title is, “In Freedom We Trust: An Atheist Guide to Religious Liberty.”

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HARD ON THE HEELS of last week’s smash stage play “Steel Magnolias,” The Earl Smith Strand Theatre on Marietta Square this weekend will present “Kids on Broadway,” an up-tempo, non-stop musical revue of Broadway hits by 27 young Cobb performers.

As Strand director Earl Reece told Around Town, “Like the song from ‘Hairspray’ says, these are the ‘Nicest Kids in Town.’”

Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets can be purchased at the Strand box office or online at www.earlsmithstrand.org.
Comments
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Promises?
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January 22, 2013
Mr. Tippins, NO ONE believes a promise coming from a politician. Get off the crack.
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