I respect and enjoy Ron Sifen’s excellent guest columns published in the MDJ. I’ve benefitted and learned from his superb, thorough research into Cobb issues, but most importantly, Ron is an honest man. He displays this honesty in his Sunday article “Cobb SPLOST not perfect, but deserves your vote.”
Strangely, Ron tries to convince us to vote for the estimated $750 million SPLOST in November by informing us how badly previous SPLOSTs have been used. Then Ron tells us that what was supposed to be a tax for special purposes has degenerated into anything but. Ron accurately says in his column that “Cobb keeps using SPLOSTs like a slush fund. Cobb starts by deciding a SPLOST can raise $750 million in six years, and then Cobb tries to figure out what it wants to spend all that money on.”
Why would I vote for such a beast? Why would I tax myself, my friends, my neighbors and anyone buying anything in Cobb for six years so that the government can have a new $750 million slush fund? And why would such an intelligent and honest man as Ron advocate such irresponsible government?
Perhaps Ron Sifen is having a Ben Stein moment. Stein and his father Herbert were part of President Nixon’s administration. In a famous televised interview a few years ago, Ben said that if government wastes half of our tax money, then taxes should be doubled so there will be enough money left to do the things government should do. I had the same shock as everyone else on the panel. What an incredible statement; what a ridiculous thought.
Ron says pretty much the same thing in his column, which offers some of the best reasons I’ve heard to vote against any SPLOST. He believes that some good can somehow come from the SPLOST, and this is probably true. If you have $750 million to throw around for six years, it’s bound to hit somewhere and do some good. But this is not good government, and we should not encourage bad policy by handing over nearly a billion dollars of our money, a great part of which, according to Ron Sifen, will be wasted.