The vote Johns Creek residents will take on the TSPLOST 0.75% tax is critical to understand.
Voters are being presented with the opportunity to raise the taxes on themselves, which will effectively increase the spending and size of the Johns Creek City government by 29.7%. That is not insignificant.
TSPLOST is being advertised primarily as a tax that will help tackle road congestion. But the majority of the dollars will not go for projects to ease road congestion. Not even 1/3 of the dollars will go for road congestion relief.
Where do these dollars come from? Somehow, the sales tax has been touted as a way for others to pay for what you need. Yet there is no empirical research to show just how much that equals. Fulton County outside the City of Atlanta is not a tourist destination of significant size. And one would have to believe that the number of those tourists is astronomically high to offset the 482,000 residents that live here, shop here, and spend here each and every day.
The TSPLOST tax is also very inefficient for residents of Fulton County. You will pay this tax with after tax dollars. You will also never know exactly what your tax burden is for this issue because it is impossible to calculate just how much you actually pay over a year. Politicians love this.
What would have been tax efficient for you? The City of Johns Creek raising your property taxes to raise the money. Your property taxes ARE tax deductible. Therefore, the taxes you pay to the Federal government will be reduced by what you pay in property taxes multiplied by your nominal tax rate.
Using a nominal tax rate of 25%, that equals $13,800,000 over five years. That is real money that you , the residents of Johns Creek would save in Federal income taxes. Why would the COJC not take this approach? They fear raising taxes on you, and prefer you do it yourself, even if it costs us $13.8 million in the process.
But wait, it gets worse.
Johns Creek is a wealthy community. There are several wealthy communities in North Fulton. And because we are wealthier, we spend more money. If we spend more money we spend more dollars paying sales taxes. It’s simple math.
Yet, the TSPLOST tax will be distributed on a per capita basis. This creates a great disparity in what some communities will pay and what they receive. Some communities , such as Sandy Springs, where salaries are high, and households are smaller, will be shortchanged in a major way. Johns Creek will also be shortchanged, paying more in sales tax dollars than they will receive from the TSPLOST based on per capita payouts.
Mayor Bodker recently stated with certainty that this is not the case. His reason? Sales taxes are regressive. Unfortunately, he is wrong. A sales tax is regressive, but that does not mean a Johns Creek resident pays less in sales tax than a resident of Palmetto. It only means that the Johns Creek resident pays less of his total income in sales tax dollars. There’s a big difference in the two.
The TSPLOST project list includes both needs and wants. What should have happened is that our needs were calculated, and then the COJC make the case that by raising taxes, and addressing those needs we would get the greatest return on our investment.
What we have with the TSPLOST tax is an inefficient, costly alternative to good governance at the most local of levels –our City Government.
Vote No on TSPLOST. Then have the City of Johns Creek approach this issue with your best interests in mind.