Thoughts about travelling from Georgia to Virginia… SPLOST

This week we drove to Virginia for the AAU Junior Olympics.  We spend 20 hours out of 60 driving.  We did get to enjoy the beach for about 4 hours.

Anyways.  I always vote against SPLOST.

If you don’t know this is how SPLOST works.  We all have to pay some sales tax.  We have to pay the tax whether we vote for SPLOST or not.  So voting against SPLOST does NOT lower taxes.

What happens is that the State collects tens of millions of dollars (I am not over exaggerating) it’s like 30 million dollars a year.  Our local officials come up with projects that they can do for us with that money.  So, for example, they could offer to build a nature trail or something.  Then they put it up for a vote and then the people vote.  If the vote wins the state gives the money to the local officials and if the vote loses the state keeps the money.  It’s simple.

In the example, the State collects $30,000,000.  The local officials say we’d like to use that $30,000,000 to build an amazing nature trail.  If the people vote the local officials get the money, if not the State keeps the money.

It’s a slam dunk.  We constituents have to pay either way.  All we are deciding it whether we want the nature trail or to give the State a gift of 30,000,000.

The first years I voted for SPLOST, it’s slam dunk.  Goodies for us or a gift to the State… that’s a no brainer.  If I remember correctly SPLOST won by 90+ percent in Cobb County.  It was slam dunk.  There were a few crazies that were against SPLOST, but come on “School Upgrades” or a gift to the state?  I vote for school upgrades and so did everyone I know.  I MADE A HUGE MISTAKE… and now I don’t get to use the track any more.

The county decided to put million dollar artificial turf fields at each school (with SPLOST money) and then since the fields are so expensive they started locking the gates to the tracks that surround the fields.  So before SPLOST you could go to any high school and find tax paying constituents walking, jogging, running around the track, after SPLOST you find a pad lock and a sign telling you that if you are caught trespassing you will be prosecuted.

For the HS Football Coaches getting that SPLOST money gave them the right to take the track away from the community.  If they had never gotten the SPLOST money we would all be able to use the track.

So that was a real bummer.  I really enjoyed that track and it makes me sad that I voted to lose my track privileges.

SPLOST came around again.  I voted no and it was close.  SPLOST barely won.  Think about it the citizens of Cobb County almost voted to give the State a gift of 10s of millions instead of “upgrading parks” and here’s why.

The parks department decided to take the money and renovate them.  The park next to my house was closed for over a year while they did renovations.  The ripped the old grass out and put new grass in.  They did it to all of the fields except for 2 and guess what those two untouched fields look the best of all of the fields.  They closed the park down for a year AND made the fields worse with the money we gave them.

The point is that when we give our local officials (Principals, Coaches, Park Directors…) money they take the money as a signal that it’s ok to reduce access.  They get fixated on the structure and lose sight of the constituents.

So back to the beginning.  On our drive traffic was getting very backed up and very dangerous.  It’s because there was a lot of “construction” going on.  On several occasions we saw “Construction Ahead Left Lane Closed” signs.  Then we’d slide to the right lane and the right lane was closed.  It made the roads very dangerous.  Then the lanes were closed for 10 miles of maybe 20 feet of work going on.  A couple of times the lanes were closed and there wasn’t any work going on.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been to Detroit I know how important it is to expand the roads.  Having roads that are too narrow is death to an American city.  The problem is that they aren’t doing any work.  They are taking the money and closing the roads with the money that the tax payers gave them and making things worse.

Oh, well… I guess that was just a rant…. We did stay very nice and calm on the roads, I guess I am using this blog as a way to express my rage.

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