Wed., November 2, 2011 5:21pm (EDT)

Counties Debate Education Sales Taxes
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 3 years ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
Penny sales taxes for education are used in most Georgia counties.  (photo Aldo Gonzalez)
Penny sales taxes for education are used in most Georgia counties. (photo Aldo Gonzalez)
Voters in dozens of Georgia counties will decide next week if they want to extend penny sales taxes generating millions of dollars for schools.

The campaigns for and against them share common themes.

The Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax or ESPLOST only can be used for capital projects, like new buildings, or for paying down debt.

Savannah-Chatham County School Board President Joe Buck says, the sales tax cuts down on property taxes.

"No one really likes taxes," Buck says. "But we've saved one mill of taxes by virtue of having the sales tax."

Opponents like the Tea Party's Jeanne Seaver, however, say, new buildings aren't necessary for quality education.

"The people who said, 'Give it to us and we won't raise your taxes,' it's not true," Seaver says. "They raised our taxes this year."

Voters also are weighing new transportation sales taxes up for votes next year.

Habersham, McDuffie and Fulton are among counties deciding ESPLOSTs next week.

BONUS CONTENT: Savannah-Chatham County School Board President Joe Buck and anti-tax activist Jeanne Seaver both present their arguments.