Look who gets cut and whose taxes are raised

Tue, 07/28/2009 - 3:00pm
By: Letters to the ...

Your July 15 headline said, “Chairman, 4 mayors push new SPLOST.” Three days later, it’s “PTC Council backs new SPLOST.”

Imagine that: People in charge of spending our money want more of our money to spend! Sorry, but that’s not exactly “Man bites dog!” news. It would be front-page news if the tax consumers did NOT want more money from the tax payers.

Who are “tax consumers”? They’re people who receive more money from the public treasury than they pay in. They include government employees at all levels, from sewer workers to the president, plus all the contractors and contractors’ employees whose main source of income is government contracts.

The tax PAYERS foot the bill for the tax CONSUMERS at all levels.

So now we’re in for three months of newspaper stories and editorials conjuring up dire predictions of what will happen if if voters don’t approve the tax, and three months of improbable incentives (“... the commission would PROPOSE to double the homestead exemption ...” [emphasis mine]) if they do.

Hey, here’s an idea: Instead of “proposing” to double the homestead exemption AFTER the SPLOST passes, make the doubling of homestead exemption part of the ballot measure. Extend the SPLOST for five years AND double the homestead exemption for five years.

Then voters can vote the whole thing up or down. That way there’s no chance we’d hear, “Oh, well, the double homestead exemption didn’t pass, but thanks for giving us $135 million in extra sales tax.”

Have you ever noticed that when tax consumers want more money, they conjure up the specter of cutting the few services that the majority of taxpayers find valuable?

Police officers are on the chopping block, but not code enforcement officers, because people worry about staying safe, not about busting the guy next door who’s parked in his own driveway with one tire on his own lawn. (Yes, that’s actually a code violation in PTC. My neighbor was cited for it.)

Firefighters’ jobs are on the line, but not a single one of the multitude of clerks in the various county offices are scheduled to go.

Teachers are targeted for layoffs, but not school administrators, because everyone knows that the loss of a few ivory-tower administrators wouldn’t affect the quality of their child’s education like the loss of classroom teachers would.

When last year’s education SPLOST was up for consideration, teachers and school administrators wrote most of the letters to the editor. There was breathless hand-wringing about teachers losing their jobs, with visions of students packed in classrooms until they spill out into the hallways, and schools shutting down altogether if we didn’t fork over more money for education.

The tactic worked, because voters levied more taxes on everyone who shops in Fayette County, thereby driving major purchases to Cobb County. (I purchased my last Mac computer at MicroCenter in Marietta and paid 6 percent sales tax on it; if I’d purchased it at AIS Computers in Fayetteville, I would have paid 7 percent sales tax. I saved $15.00 [1 percent]; Fayette County lost $90.00 [6 percent].)

So get ready: You’re about to be treated to a plethora of newspaper articles and tax consumers’ letters to the editor with warnings of potholes opening up and swallowing passing cars if we don’t fork over more money for street repair.

And undoubtedly there will more of the same tired, old warnings of cutting police and fire protection if they have to pay for road repairs out of their general budgets.

Please remember that tax consumers have only one bullet in their gun — fear. I hope this year’s bullet doesn’t find its mark in voters’ hearts, like the last one did.

If we have the guts to roll our sales tax back to 6 percent, maybe we’ll see some business return to Fayette County, which we desperately need.

Randy Drake

Peachtree City, Ga.

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Submitted by PTC Observer on Tue, 08/04/2009 - 8:51pm.

Good man! Enough is enough already, let's get the government off our backs and out of our pockets before it's too late.

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