OUR VIEW: Vote ‘yes’ on SPLOST

A turnout of 25 percent or less is expected to vote this Tuesday for the countywide special purpose local option sales tax, better known as SPLOST. That number, while low, is not surprising considering this is not a general election year. However, it does make a strong case for the cliche “every vote counts.”

For the majority of voters in Gwinnett, SPLOST will be the only item on the ballot. But while in most cases it is the lone item, it is a very important one to the quality of life in the county. The proposal would extend the one-cent county sales tax for three more years, raising nearly $500 million for capital projects.

About 70 percent of that money would be earmarked for transportation, which could be used on everything from repaving to intersection improvements. The other percentage of the money raised by the proposed SPLOST would go to city projects, libraries and public safety.

It’s a big chunk of money that will be decided by a relatively small group of voters. At this time in this economy, there will be plenty of folks eager to vote against any kind of tax, including ones like this that would provide much needed funds. It’s a funding stream that politicians have gotten too used to, the anti crowd says.

But as taxes go, we feel this is the least invasive, a consumption tax that is funded by visitors to Gwinnett as well as by Gwinnettians themselves. And SPLOST, which has been collected every year since 1988 (save for one year in the mid-’90s) has made a huge impact on the county.

Said Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash: “If we lifted out of Gwinnett County the projects SPLOST has paid for, the landscape would be totally different.”

To that end, we encourage registered voters to go to the polls on Tuesday and cast their ballots. And we ask them to vote “yes” for the continuation of SPLOST.