What the hell is T-SPLOST?
You may have heard of the referendum on television ads or seen its name on a number of billboards, but many students remain lost when it comes to T-SPLOST.
And rightfully so.
Starting today through July 31, Georgia residents will be hitting the polls to vote ‘yea’ or ‘nay’ on a one percent regional sales tax driven toward fixing a variety of transportation projects. In Savannah and Chatham County, the T-SPLOST sales tax would fund 18 individual projects that range from the widening of I-95 to the addition of a sidewalk in midtown.
But with confusion at an all-time high and countering opinions meeting head on, it can be hard to glean salvageable facts from the pile-up of falsities.
Chatham County’s current sales tax of seven percent is broken down on a penny scale: four cents going to the state’s general fund for maintenance and operation; the fifth cent fulfilling LOST, a local options sales tax; the sixth cent going to E-SPLOST, the education local options sales tax; and finally SPLOST, the special purpose local options sales tax that was originally devised to cover expenses including transportation.
With the exception of the four percent mandated sales tax, every additional penny has been passed according to the jurisdiction by referendum. The eighth penny added to the sales tax, the T-SPLOST cent, would differ from these previously approved referendums in that rather than being voted for county-by-county, the state of Georgia has been divided into 12 regions for this particular vote.
Chatham County lies in Region 12, which also includes Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, McIntosh and Screven counties.
Prior to the 2010 passing of the Transportation Investment Act (TIA), the sales tax had been capped at seven percent with the exception of the Atlanta area (where the current eight percent sales tax includes a penny to cover MARTA, the Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority).
By forgoing the technicalities, a number of Chatham County citizens could end up voting for or against a tax they fail to understand.
Aldermen of the Savannah City Council will be holding town hall meetings in their individual districts to inform the public of particulars regarding the T-SPLOST referendum and how it will affect their region’s transportation.
Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. district 5 Alderman Dr. Estella Shabazz will hold the first of these town hall meetings at the Tatemville Community Center located at 333 Coleman St.
A little over three weeks time is left for the voting of the T-SPLOST referendum and District will be posting continuous coverage.Shannon Craig.