The July 31st referendum on a penny sales tax to fund transportation projects has prompted campaigns and websites for and against the tax.
A recent poll shows that the so-called "TSPLOST" vote is dividing communities across Georgia.
If TSPLOST passes in any of the 12 regions across the state, Georgians in that region would pay an extra penny for every dollar spent on items like groceries and clothes. Jet fuel and gasoline are exempt.
The money collected would go toward a list of already approved transportation projects in that region.
Opponents of the tax argue that it’s a waste of taxpayer money and that the sales tax could drive away shoppers from neighboring states. But Joey Haddon who owns Phoenix Printing in Augusta thinks the tax might bring in more business—by beautifying the business district and improving traffic:
"We have a lot of traffic, and we need to get things right and we need to do it right the first time. And I’m not for wasting these TSPLOST dollars, but I am definitely for making our city a better city."
In Calhoun County, a large amount of revenue comes from out-of-state shoppers. Ft. Oglethorpe Mayor Linn Long says increasing sales tax might dissuade shoppers from crossing the Georgia state line:
“People shop by habit and if we get them out of the habit because sales tax is raised from coming into our city and spending their money, then we’re going to have to raise property taxes on the citizens of our city.”
According to the Morris News Service poll, voters in Augusta were most supportive of the tax while people in the Mountains region around Gainesville were least supportive.