SPLOST IV education initiative: Voters decide today - School tax could collect $773.3M for two districts
by Lindsay Field
March 18, 2013 11:44 PM | 5324 views | 8 8 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Those who support and oppose SPLOST IV are optimistic votes will sway in their favor after results roll in tonight.

The Cobb County polls close at 7 p.m. today for anyone interested in voting on whether the special purpose local option sales tax education initiative should pass.

If approved, the Cobb and Marietta school districts will collect approximately $773.3 million between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2018. Cobb will get about $717.8 million and Marietta $55.4 million.

Lance Lamberton, with the Cobb Taxpayers Association, has been an outspoken critic of the initiative ever since the school board approved it to go before voters last fall.

His organization has been meeting on a regular basis to discuss why it should not pass.

He’s hoping to have a few members who will be out and about today waving their “Ax the Tax” signs and in the community talking to potential voters.

He can’t say for sure how the vote will turn out but believes the SPLOST will be defeated, despite its being an uphill climb. The history of education SPLOSTs across Georgia shows they are difficult to derail, especially when they are in a special election with nothing else on the ballot.

“I don’t want to discourage people to not vote, but the odds are against us because of the low voter turnout, and there’s an emotional plea on the other side that this is for the kids,” he said.

His reminder to those still on the fence about the vote: “Voting down this thing does not mean the end of all education SPLOSTs.

“What we’re trying to do is change the dynamics from a perpetual SPLOST to a judicial SPLOST for where and when it’s needed,” he said.

Cobb Taxpayers Association will be hosting an election night party at Williamson Brothers BBQ on Roswell Road starting around 6:30 p.m.

On the other end of the spectrum are John Loud and the nonprofit organization United 4 Kids.

The group has been out in full force for about a month campaigning, and they have posted nearly 1,500 yard signs in support of SPLOST IV.

“I think it’s going to be a matter of all the push to get the vote out,” he said Monday. “We’ve been very successful to identify a lot of our voters, where they are, and now it’s a matter of reminding them and encouraging them so they vote for SPLOST.”

He expects a victory tonight and said support for the initiative has been better than anticipated.

“I would love for (voters) to look at the successful track record for the last 14 years, look at the audits, the openness to publish this 154-page notebook,” Loud said. “Look at the big picture, what it’s done for our kids, the staff, property values, and economic driving values of why people want to come to Cobb.”

United 4 Kids will be meeting at Willie Rae’s on the Marietta Square at 7:30 p.m.

A detailed Cobb Schools project list can be found at cobbk12.org and for Marietta, marietta-city.org.

For more information about voting locations or a sample ballot, visit elections.cobbcountyga.gov.
Comments
(8)
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Be Careful
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March 19, 2013
Please vote "NO" today.

The long term answer to the school boards problems is NOT to just keep giving them more money to bridge the budget gap.

They must learn to live within their budget, just like the rest of us do. And, make SMART economical decisions...not blow millions on silly projects that are not needed.

Make them do the right thing, don't just hand them more of our tax money. If you do, they will never learn and the SPLOST will go on FOREVER!
A Taxpayer
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March 19, 2013
Vote HELL NO! They have enought of our money already.
getouttovote
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March 19, 2013
Regardless of whether you are for or against SPLOST, just get out and vote. Don't let the outcome be determine by the few, but the many.
Irresponsible
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March 19, 2013
The "political" calls made by Mr. Lamberton's so-called Cobb Taxpayers Association preceding today's vote were very offensive. All the call to my home tried to do was scare our seniors by telling them they are thought of like "sheep to the slaughter" and imply that their school property tax exemption might be taken away from our seniors. Totally irresponsible to bring that up when the vote today ONLY has to do with whether or not to CONTINUE not RAISE our current sales tax. They lost any credibility with me. How can anyone trust one word they say if they make calls like that? Scare tactics targeting seniors have no place in this debate.

Maintain and support our schools with a YES vote = Maintain and support ALL of Cobb County.
Devlin Adams
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March 19, 2013
If you thought that was scary, you should have gotten one of the robo calls paid for by the Chamber of Commerce.

The prediction was that faulure of hte SPLOST to pass would be tantamount to the end of education in Cobb County. Also that property taxes would go up, and there would be bonds issued on whcih we would have to pay the interest. None of which is true.

Oh, and yes the threat of losing the Senior Exemption is a very real one that they are using and in fact are threatening us with if we do not vote for the SPLOST.
@ Devlin Adams
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March 19, 2013
Who is "they"? There is only one place the senior exemption can be touched and that is at the gold dome - not the chamber, not the school board.

Give us the names of the specific Cobb Delegation members to the General Assembly (ie. Cobb's state representatives and senators) who have "threatened" to change the senior exemption if SPLOST is not supported.

Be specific!

Cue the crickets!!!!!!
@Devlin
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March 19, 2013
1) Senior Exemption is NOT at risk. The senior school property tax exemption is part of the Georgia Constitution (local legislation) and it has NOTHING to do with sales tax.

The only way the exemption will ever change is through Georgia's General Assembly, followed by a voter approved amendment to Georgia's Constitution.

2) Tom Malloy of the anti-splost movement already admitted in a previous MDJ article that bonds would have to be issued if SPLOST does not pass. Increasing property taxes.

anonymous
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March 19, 2013
The robo call which targeted teachers, hit a very important voter group which the Chamber people forgot about and/or did not know how to access. Well done CCS.
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