Patch Survey of GOP Leaders Shows Opposition to TSPLOST
Republican respondents cite higher taxes and lack of trust as reasons they oppose the transportation referendum.
Georgia Republican leaders responding to a Patch survey overwhelmingly oppose the regional transportation special local option sales tax -- a.k.a. TSPLOST -- in their regions and believe it will fail.
Patch sent surveys to about 135 Republican Party activists, candidates and officeholders last week asking their opinions about the referendum for a one percent sales tax increase to fund road and transit projects. Just over 60 of them responded.
The referendum to create a Transportation Local Option Sales Tax is split into 12 regional districts across Georgia, and the referendum could pass in one region and fail in others. The Republican leaders responding to Patch’s survey hail mostly from the Northwest, Northeast and Atlanta regions.
If the referendum passes, a major project would be built in the Decatur and Avondale Estates area. The Clifton Corridor Project would connect the Lindbergh Center, Emory University and the CDC by light rail.
Also, the two cities would receive a share for local projects over 10 years -- $3.6 million for Decatur and $796,350 for Avondale Estates.
While the survey is unscientific and can’t be generalized beyond the respondents, those who replied were broadly opposed.
Forty-two of the respondents, nearly 70 percent, said they are publicly opposing the referendum, with nine publicly supporting and 10 saying they are undecided. An even higher number, 46, said they planned to personally vote against the TSPLOST referendum. Twelve respondents said they would vote for it.
The responses were in line with a WSB-TV poll of Metro Atlantans showing that just 20 percent of Republicans support TSPLOST.
Forty-one of the Patch survey respondents, more than two-thirds, said they expect TSPLOST to fail in their regions. Only seven said they expect it to pass. Thirteen were unsure.
The Republican respondents offered several reasons for opposing the referendum, from the added tax burden to questions about its constitutionality. Some in the Metro Atlanta region don't want money from their communities used to fund transit projects in town. Others expressed an overall lack of trust in the state to follow through on its promises.
"TSPLOST would be the greatest tax increase in Georgia history," said one respondent. "It sets up new government bureaucracy. It shifts money from taxpayers of counties to others. Nobody really knows where the money will go. It is a bailout for a failing MARTA system."
Added another: "TSPLOST is a tax increase that will send a large sum of money outside of my community. Georgia taxpayers work too hard for their money to have the state spend it on projects of questionable value."
Those supporting the referendum said it was the only way currently available to address Georgia's dire transportation needs.
"Georgia has under-invested in transportation improvements since the 1980s," one supporter said. "T-SPLOST will provide necessary funds to improve transportation regionally and within indivdual counties. If we want Georgia to see economic growth and development, we must invest in our transportation system."
Another Republican supporter said: "[I]t takes some of the burden off of our residents, especially property owners who pay property tax, and shifts it to the population of the region as a whole and includes visitors paying sales tax."
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Here is the roster of state Republican leaders who agreed to participate in occasional Patch surveys, although not all participated in this one:
|Earl||Ehrhart||State Represented District 36|
|Lindsey||Tippins||State Senate District 37|
|Tom||Bevirt||Former three-term city councilman/political columnist|
|S.||Malik||Republican running for U.S. House|
|Randy||Scamihorn||Republican running for Cobb County Board of Education|
|Mike||Korom||Candidate for Gwinnett County Commission District 3|
|Shelley||Wynter||Radio Host, Blogger, activist|
|Mark||Gorman||Candidate for the Georgia House of Representatives|
|Suzanne||Ward||Member of the Georgia Right to Life Organization|
|Greg||Pallen||Running for 4th Congressional District,|
|David||McLeroy||Norcross City Councilman|
|Mike||Lowry||Organizer of the Transportation Leadership Coalition|
|Sarah||Bell||Activist, Candidate for Board of Commissioners|
|Josh||Belinfante||Running for District 6 State Senate|
|B.J.||Van Gundy||Former 7th District GOP chairman|
|Brooks||Coleman||Georgia State Representative|
|Ken||Young||Chair of Barrow County Republican Party|
|John||Elliott||Longtime party member|
|Regina||Quick||Candidate and longtime party member and activist|
|Matt||Brewster||Chairman of local Republican party|
|Bruce||LeVell||Gwinnett GOP Chairman|
|Bruce||LeVell||Gwinnett GOP chairman|
|David||Shafer||Georgia State Senator|
|Matt||Reeves||Gwinnett Bar Association President/Gwinnett GOP Counsel|
|Jason||Thompson||7th District GOP Chairman|
|William||Wood||County GOP chair|
|Howard||Stopeck||Running for the Georgia District 5 U.S. Congressional Seat|
|Earl||Cooper||Running for Ga. House District 58|
|Dianne||Devore||North Fulton Tea Party Representative|
|Bruce||LeVell||Gwinnett GOP Chairman|
|Brandon||Roberts||Cherokee Teen Republicans Leader|
|Brian||Laurens||Leader: Cherokee GOP|
|Conrad||Quaglialroli||Cherokee GOP Leader|
|Linda||Ruggiero||Cherokee GOP Leader|
|Mike||Mulcare||Douglas County Commissioner|
|Chris||Vaughn||Running for 4th Congressional district seat.|
|Bob||Snelling||Running for GA House Seat, Former House Legislator|
|Mike||Miller||Running for GA House seat, On Douglas County School Board|
|Pat||Graham||Candidate for chair of Barrow County Board of Commissioners|
|Mickey||Thompson||Running for GA House seat, Former Douglasville Mayor|
|Ginger||Howard||Former Chair of Buckhead Republican Women|
|Phil||Gingrey||Current Office Holder|
|Edward||Lindsey||Current Office Holder|
|Roger||Bonds||Chairman, Fulton County GOP|
|Honey||Van De Kreke||Activist|
|D.C.||Aiken||Current Alpharetta City Councilman|
|Melvin||Davis||Current Chairman of the Board of Commissioners|
|John||Marsh||activist, longtime member|
|Brett||Harrell||Current office holder, State House District 106|
|Travis||Bowden||Running for office, District 9, Senate|
|Chuck||Bagley||Current District 2 Walton County Commissioner|
|Bruce||Williamson||Current Georgia State Rep|
|Tammy||Gilland||Treasurer of Oconee County GOP and Candidate for Board of Commissioners|
|Fran||Millar||Current office holder|
|Heather||Campbell||Member of the Georgia Right to Life Organization|
|Ed||Setzler||Georgia House District 35 Representative|
|Tommy||Allegood||Mayor, City of Acworth/GOP Member|
|Butch||Price||Alderman Post 1, City of Acworth|
|Joseph||Gullett||Head of the Paulding GOP|
|Micah||Gravley||Former Paulding GOP chairman;|
|Joe||Cobb||GOP party member|
|BJ||Pak||Ga. House District 102 officeholder|
|David||Casas||Ga. House District 103 officeholder|
|David||Rodriguez||GOP party member|
|Roy||Roberts||Head of Walton County Republican Party|
|Bruce||Williamson||Georgia State Representative|
|Gene||Hobgood||Mayor, Canton, GA|
|Hooky||Huffman||City Council member, Canton, GA|
|Danny||Dukes||Republican candidate for Cherokee County Board of Education Chair|
|Brian||Laurens||Former First Vice Chair, Cherokee County Republican Party|
|Christopher||Sanders||President of Atlanta Young Republicans|
|Timothy||Johnson||Activist, Former Republican Chair and Delegate|
|Mathew||Hunt||Atlanta Young Republican Member|
|Sheila||Appling||Atlanta Black Republicans, Vice Chair|
|Deidre||Scott||activist, member of Atlanta Young Republicans|
|Channing||Ruskell||Candidate for Cherokee County Commission|
|Lydia||Hallmark||member, Paulding County Republican Women's Club|
|Earl||Cooper||State Rep District 58 GOP candidate|
|Marjean||Birt||President, Chattahooche Republican Women's Club|
|Bob||Weatherford||Alderman Post 3|
|Gene||Pugliese||Alderman Post 2|
|JoEllen||Smith||Running for House District 44 Seat|
|Charlotte||Nash||Chairwoman, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners|
|Cris||Eaton-Welsh||Current City Councilmember|
|Carrie||Springer||Former candidate and campaign volunteer|
|Artie||Harton||A citizen and loyal Republican voter|
|Jim||Paine||Former Alpharetta City Councilman & former Mayor Pro Tem|
|Bobbie||Frantz||Georgia Federation of Republican Women, DeKalb GOP|
|Hussein K.||Dido||Running for District V Chairman of the Gwinnett County School Board|
|Barbara||Hickey||Chairwoman of Cobb Republican Women|
|John||Delves||active community member|
|Hayden||Collins||Candidate, Radio Host|
|Barry||Loudermilk||Current Officeholder, Candidate|
|Louis||DeBroux||Local Party Chairman|
|Rob||Adkerson||Local Republican Pary Vice Chair, Co-Founder of Local Tea Party|
|Chris||Sanders||President Atlanta Young Republicans|