As you probably know, an E-SPLOST (education special local option sales tax) is a one penny consumption tax that goes towards building projects for the Carroll city and county schools. In my opinion, consumption taxes such as SPLOST revenues provide one of the fairest ways to raise money for government because everyone pays, not just folks with jobs and/or own property.
But the truth, which isn’t being discussed, is what you and I are being asked to vote on in March is whether or not property owners agree to co-sign on an $83 million, 10-year bond (loan), not just extending the five-year E-SPLOST as we’re being told.
Here’s the problem. E-SPLOST IV is projected to only bring in $55 million over the next five years. Simple math shows that after five years, we’re going to be saddling ourselves (and our kids) with an estimated $28 million ad valorem tax burden that will, by Georgia state law, be assessed to all county property owners if another E-SPLOST doesn’t pass in 2017. At that point, the choices will be to either pass the next E-SPLOST V, or your property taxes will skyrocket!
Why is the Carroll County Board of Education playing these fiscally unsound games? Because instead of simply paying off the projected $9 million current debt in 2012 and being fiscally responsible with the remaining E-SPLOST revenues, they want to “kick the can down the road” and put us on the hook for over three times more debt by 2017!
Understand that the current E-SPLOST III doesn’t expire until December 2012, so the March 15 vote is just a test to see if the property owners are paying attention. If E-SPLOST IV and $83 million bond does not pass in March, no problem! Another version will be back on the ballot again in 2012.
Please consider what you’re voting for in March and remember that a “NO” vote simply gives the Carroll County Board of Education another year to put on the ballot a fiscally responsible five-year bond that can be fully repaid with E-SPLOST IV revenues. Now that would make sense!