The question comes up every time a Special Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) question is put to the public: Does a sales tax ever go away?

SPLOST is governed by state statute. Once approved by the county voters, it is specified how much money will be collected over what period of time. The first one of those factors to happen dictates the end of that tax. It cannot be extended without a public vote.

Every SPLOST that has been utilized here has been voted in by the public. And when it has run its course, it has come off the books unless a public vote has extended it.

Please be clear that this is a tax we put upon ourselves based on our convictions of its credibility. County Commission does not and cannot levy a SPLOST. “We the people” determine that. It is democracy in direct drive.

It’s a short time now (July 18) before we decide the future of our community in a primary vote. While a primary election narrows the field of candidates who will square off on party lines in November, it will be the deciding factor on the sales tax issue.

And when we say that we are deciding the future of our community on that date, that phrasing has particular meaning in regard to the sales tax.

If we are to make the necessary capital improvements our community needs for the near future, passage of this tax is crucial. If we want to continue to provide jobs to our community, a portion of that tax specified for economic development is critical. If we are to continue to improve roads, a sales tax is more efficient and much more realistic in that endeavor than a substantial hike in ad valorem taxes.

At the core of the jobs issue is the matter of wastewater treatment. Our present facility in Moultrie must be renovated even to serve the status quo. And our engineers have established that we cannot add industry to it because it is at capacity. It must be enlarged and improved. It’s the cost of doing business. It’s about spending money to make money (provide jobs, broaden the county’s ad valorem tax base). It’s an investment in our community.

The sales tax question will be put to you in several paragraphs on the ballot. Please do not disregard it.

As well, please do not take the position that you will not vote for “any” tax. Keep in mind that some maintenance and improvements must be met. It’s just a matter of how we pay for them. If we depend on the ad valorem tax, then we are disregarding the elements of efficiency, effectiveness and fairness of the sales tax.

Everyone who shops in the community, regardless of whether they live here, whether they are legal or not, will pay this tax.

We should also keep in mind that this is about investing in our children and grandchildren — living up to our responsibilities of helping provide them a better tomorrow in our community.

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