Imagine if everyone contributed a few cents or dollars with every non-food and prescription purchase, and then said contribution went to help all citizens of Lowndes and the surrounding counties.
Think of all of the incredible new public works and institutions that would be available to everyone.
For the last several years, the Special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) has done just that by bringing many public facilities to Valdosta and the surrounding areas that benefit all citizens.
SPLOST is a 1 percent sales tax that any county in the state of Georgia has the ability to impose for the purpose of funding public facilities, operating expenses and maintenance projects.
According to the SPLOST official website, the tax has the potential to generate $670 million in revenue throughout our district.
SPLOST achieves this goal by simply raising sales tax from 4 percent up to, at most, a mere six percent on all non-food and prescription purchases.
This incredibly nonintrusive tax is being voted on throughout the state’s districts in the Nov. 6 election. If this piece of legislation is to pass, the tax will continue for the next 10 years.
Currently, nine of the 12 districts of Georgia are severely against SPLOST, refusing to acknowledge the potential of the tax that has proven itself time and time again. One of those districts is the Southern Georgia District, which includes Lowndes County. Voter discontent lies with the tax allowing the state government to maintain infrastructure at the local level. In addition, people fear that this tax will put those of lower incomes, those who may benefit the most from SPLOST, at a disadvantage. Yet, the advantages that SPLOST creates are numerous.
In Lowndes county the votes have been projected to be 66% no, 34% yes. If passed, SPLOST revenue will be used to build a new $22 million library auditorium near Five Points. Mathis City Auditorium will then be sold to South Georgia Medical Center in order to assist staff and better aid patients. Millions more generated through SPLOST will be spent on other various projects aimed at the public good. Over the years SPLOST has giving way to Fire Station No. 2, the Regional Airport terminal, the Senior Citizens Center, the Lowndes County Jail facilities, the Valdosta Regional Crime Lab and to many more local innovations and necessities.
If voted in, SPLOST will allow for decaying and outdated buildings such as Valdosta High School, and the local Library to be renovated and equipped with modern technologies. In addition, an excess of new jobs will be created. There is a critical need to maintain the crumbling foundation that supports the legacy of historic Valdosta. SPLOST will do just that by bringing life back to downtown Valdosta through renovation of the area and by providing easy access to the local venues.
Without SPLOST we risk losing both the culture and nature of progression that has forever been identified with Valdosta and its people. In November we must all vote yes to SPLOST in order to create a city of opportunity and knowledge for future generations.