Two Political Leaders Sound Off On SPLOST Tax

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Valdosta, GA - Anytime you make a purchase in Lowndes County you pay seven cents extra on the dollar. And all those pennies add up.

It is called SPLOST, or the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

"We can't afford to stop what we're doing," said Valdosta Mayor John Gayle. "If we stop growing, if we stop repairing our streets and sidewalks, if we stop providing these things for others, then we're going to go backwards."

SPLOST is not a new tax. It has been in place since 1987.

With SPLOST, every dollar you spend has seven cents tacked onto it. Four go back to the state. Of the remaining three, one goes to Education, one goes to Property Tax and one is divided between the county and the five cities.

If passed, SPLOST will be worth an estimated $150 million over the next six years. Of that one cent, 49% goes to the City of Valdosta. 45% goes to the unincorporated portions of the county. And the remaining 6% goes to the other four cities.

Mayor Gayle estimates the City of Valdosta will gain $74 million dollars over that six year period. He says it will fund a new library, new auditorium and much more.

Nolan Cox is the head of the Valdosta Tea Party. His campaign is responsible for the 'Vote No' road signs you see when you drive around Valdosta.

"They're unnecessary taxes. We built this community and ran it for 114 years with no SPLOST taxes," said Cox.

Cox says in a down economy taxing the people only makes it worse.
And he questions why the current library and auditorium cannot continue to be used.

Eyewitness News stopped by the very busy Lowndes County Board of Elections office to ask what voters think.

"Myself, I'd like to hold onto my money but I also know the importance of putting back into the community," said Sonia Johnson, Lowndes Voter.

"The more the community develops the more we're going to encourage visitors which will in fact encourage industry and build the community," said Robert Luke, Lowndes Voter.

Whether you decide it's worth all those pennies, it's your choice come November 6th.

Early Voting is going on now in Georgia. And in Florida, it starts on Saturday.