SPLOST not be­ing used for its pur­pose

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - DEAR EDI­TOR:

The Spe­cial Pur­pose Lo­cal Op­tion Sales Tax (SPLOST) was de­signed and in­tended as a rare fund­ing mech­a­nism for spe­cial projects that may arise ev­ery decade or so, such as ex­pand­ing wa­ter and sewer sys­tems or build­ing new roads.

Un­for­tu­nately, in Polk County, the SPLOST has been trans­formed into a sys­tem of shift­ing more and more items from the reg­u­lar bud­get­ing process to the SPLOST mech­a­nism for which it was never in­tended. This prac­tice has re­sulted in treat­ing the SPLOST as a su­per credit card for which the pay­ments are made by the tax­pay­ers.

To ar­gue that it is, in fact, tax­pay­ers that ul­ti­mately ap­prove a SPLOST one has to con­sider that Polk County SPLOST pro­mot­ers, whether the school sys­tem or lo­cal gov­ern­ments, take par­tic­u­lar care to put these re­peated SPLOST ini­tia­tives on off year elec­tions, never on Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions where most peo­ple turn out.

The ease of pass­ing these SPLOSTS in off elec­tions has tempted our lo­cal gov­ern­ments to load up these SPLOST ini­tia­tives with a wide ar­ray of goods, from fur­ni­ture to com­put­ers to new ve­hi­cles.

This is the third county wide non-school SPLOST in the last ten years. That is not spe­cial pur­pose, that is over spend­ing.

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