The following resolution was passed by the Decatur County Board of Education at their meeting on Thursday, Feb. 12. It states their reasons for opposing Georgia House Bill 170, also known as the Transportation Funding Act of 2015.
The main reason that a number of school systems oppose the proposed law is that it would not allow the one-cent E-SPLOST tax to be applied to fuel sales. That would cost Decatur County schools about $637,000 per year in revenue. Dougherty County Schools would stand to lose $2.2 million.
City and county governments would also stand to lose sales tax collections on fuel, as well, unless they both chose to levy a new three-cent fuel tax (six cents total). Bainbridge City Manager said implementing a new three-cent local gas tax would almost make up for the lost revenue, however, he acknowledged it would be unpopular among citizens and potentially impractical. For example, since Bainbridge is a part of Decatur County, consumers could pay three cents more for gas at stations located within Bainbridge city limits. This could lead to drivers going outside of city limits, or even to other states, to fuel up.
Supporters of the bill point out that Georgia ranks 43rd in the United States on per-capita transportation spending. At the same time, the state has grown rapidly to a population of 10.2 million. Organizations such as the Tax Foundation argue for funding transportation through a mix of gasoline taxes and toll roads, so that the cost of improving transportation falls primarily on those who use the roads, whether they be citizens or commercial vehicles.
Contact State Legislators
Rep. Jay Palmer
PO Box 188 Camilla Ga 31730
Rep. Darlene Taylor
PO Box 6580 Thomasville GA 31758
State Senator Dean Burke
301-A Coverdell Legislative Office Bldg. Atlanta GA 30334
DECATUR COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION RESOLUTION
A RESOLUTION TO OPPOSE THE STATE OF GEORGIA’S TRANSPORTATION
FUNDING ACT OF 2015
WHEREAS, the Joint Study Committee on Critical Transportation Infrastructure Funding has issued a report which identifies the need for the State of Georgia to raise additional revenue to address transportation needs; and
WHEREAS, House Bill 170 has now been introduced which recommends the state invest over $1 billion annually in transportation related projects, with over $500 million of the $1 billion coming from local sales taxes from cities, counties and school systems; and
WHEREAS, in 2013, local governments in Georgia collected $516 million in local sales taxes (LOST, SPLOST, ELOST, ESPLOST, HOST, MARTA AND Atlanta’s MOST) from the sales of motor fuel; and
WHEREAS, if motor fuel is removed or exempted from local sales taxes, the Georgia Municipal Association estimates that Decatur County could lose approximately $1,911,822 annually, including proceeds to the Bainbridge City government, the Decatur County government and the Decatur County School System; and
WHEREAS, the proposed bill would reduce local SPLOST funding, local LOST collections used for funding services and property tax reduction and local ESPLOST funding to the school system by approximately $637,274.00 annually; and
WHEREAS, in 2013, the total amount of SPLOST funds spent on transportation by the cities and counties of Georgia was approximately $746 million; and
WHEREAS, Georgia’s local governments have made and continue to make substantial investments toward transportation projects; and
WHEREAS, this board urges the members of the Georgia General Assembly and our local delegation to strongly oppose any provision or measure to reduce allocation of sales tax funding to local governments;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED the Decatur County Board of Education hereby urges the Georgia General Assembly and our local delegation to strongly oppose any bill, provision or measure to re-allocate local sales tax funding from local governments to the state of Georgia. Furthermore, that the state of Georgia not approve any provision of a transportation bill that authorizes double taxation of municipal residents.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Resolution was introduced at a Regular Meeting of the Decatur County Board of Education, held on the 12th day of February, 2015, and adopted at said meeting by the affirmative vote ________ members of the Board.