I have been very critical of the Hall County SPLOST. I voted against it, and wrote about my reasoning on January 27, 2009:

At this point, the tax isn’t used to fund special projects, it’s used to “cover up” the misplaced priorities of our county government. Need a new landfill? Sure do! But instead of funding it properly, they’ll put it into a SPLOST so that the voters have to decide whether to fund the landfill or not.

A recent Gainesville Times article includes this choice nugget:

Approved using $20,000 in 1 cent sales tax funds to renovate the theater at Johnson High School. The theater’s audio, lighting and acoustical systems will be revamped.

The Hall Monitor makes mention of complete renovation of East Hall’s stadium facility, presumably paid for by SPLOST funds.  Also included are excerpts from a letter the Audit Department addressed to the Hall Board of Education which states:

As a result of our review of construction activity during our audit, we found that the Hall County Board of Education funded the construction of two athletic facilities with SPLOST proceeds. The facilities constructed included the Johnson High School meeting/dressing facility and the East Hall High Sports Complex which is owned in part by the Hall County Parks and Recreation Department. The sports complex includes a baseball and soccer field, a track, concession stands, storage, etc. Expenditures of SPLOST funds for athletic facilities appear to be in conflict with State laws regarding the imposition and use of SPLOST funds when you consider that Paragraph IV, Section VI, Article VIII of the Constitution of the State of Georgia provides that SPLOST proceeds may be expended on “capital outlay projects for educational purposes” and the Attorney General has ruled in Official Opinion 97-7 that facilities used primarily for athletic competition do not meet the definition of educational facilities.

This is why I am, and have been, AGAINST the SPLOST in Hall County.

  1. SPLOST projects are supposed to be clearly defined in the legislation before the voters go to the polls. Did anybody know that our additional sales tax proceeds would be going to East Hall’s stadium? Or Johnson’s drama department?
  2. These types of projects are supposed to funded through the school tax, not an optional sales tax. If we’re funding necessary educational facilities through our Hall County sales taxes, what exactly are we spending our school tax money on?
  3. It allows our Republican leadership (I’m looking at you, county commission) to claim they are lowering property taxes while financing pork projects with our voluntary sales tax funds. It’s a shell game.
  4. And by the way- it might be illegal.
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