Of the failed T-SPLOST campaign, Gwinnett Chamber President Jim Maran said, "We're so pleased with the collaboration demonstrated by business and community leadership, leading up to this vote -- it sets a wonderful tone for working together in the future."
He's pleased; We're not. The collaboration that so pleased Maran did not include the taxpayers, who give the Chamber more than $1 million per year and who soundly rejected the T-SPLOST sales campaign. The tone I hear is a rising grumble from taxpayers that is turning into a roar.
Taxpayers are not pleased with the collaboration between the Gwinnett Chamber and Gwinnett County Public Schools, the Board of Commissioners, the Gwinnett County Visitors' Bureau, the cities in Gwinnett and the CIDs.
GCPS claims it pays salaries of Chamber employees because it is a good investment. Are payments made year after year without any contract or vote by the school board a good investment? If getting a return on investment was their only motivation, why didn't they use taxpayer's education funds to buy a McDonald's franchise?
If those two employees can generate $800 million in economic activity, let them do fundraising for the Chamber so they won't need taxpayer's money.
If the chamber generated $800 million in economic activity, brought 280 businesses to Gwinnett County and created 12,000 jobs, and you used those claims to continue to get taxpayer money year after year, there should be detailed documentation to support those claims. We would expect you to be proud of your accomplishments and more than willing to provide documentation to support them. Where is it?
Ronald Reagan said, "Trust, but verify." Are Gwinnett taxpayers going to allow taxpayer funding of the chamber to continue without accountability?
Chairman Gwinnett Citizens for Responsible Government