Georgia Republican leaders responding to a Patch survey overwhelmingly oppose T-SPLOST in their regions and believe it will fail.
Patch sent surveys to about 135 Republican Party activists, candidates and officeholders last week asking their opinions about the referendum for a one percent sales tax increase to fund road and transit projects. Just over 60 responded.
The referendum to create a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or T-SPLOST, is split into 12 regional districts across Georgia, and the referendum could pass in one region and fail in others. The Republican leaders responding to Patch’s survey hail mostly from the Northwest, Northeast and Atlanta regions.
Fourteen T-SPLOST-proposed projects are slated for East Atlanta Patch communities.
While the survey is unscientific and can’t be generalized beyond the respondents, those who replied were broadly opposed.
Forty-two of the respondents, nearly 70 percent, said they are publicly opposing the referendum, with nine publicly supporting and 10 saying they are undecided. An even higher number, 46, said they planned to personally vote against the T-SPLOST referendum. Twelve respondents said they would vote for it.
The responses were in line with a WSB-TV poll of Metro Atlantans showing that .
Forty-one of the Patch survey respondents, more than two-thirds, said they expect T-SPLOST to fail in their regions. Only seven said they expect it to pass. Thirteen were unsure.
The Republican respondents offered several reasons for opposing the referendum, from the added tax burden to questions about its constitutionality. Some in the metro Atlanta region don't want money from their communities used to fund intown Atlanta transit projects. Others expressed an overall lack of trust in the state to follow through on its promises.
"T-SPLOST would be the greatest tax increase in Georgia history," said one respondent. "It sets up new government bureaucracy. It shifts money from taxpayers of counties to others. Nobody really knows where the money will go. It is a bailout for a failing MARTA system."
Added another: "T-SPLOST is a tax increase that will send a large sum of money outside of my community. Georgia taxpayers work too hard for their money to have the state spend it on projects of questionable value."
Those supporting the referendum said it was the only way currently available to address Georgia's dire transportation needs.
"Georgia has under-invested in transportation improvements since the 1980s," one supporter said. "T-SPLOST will provide necessary funds to improve transportation regionally and within indivdual counties. If we want Georgia to see economic growth and development, we must invest in our transportation system."
Another Republican supporter said: "[I]t takes some of the burden off of our residents, especially property owners who pay property tax, and shifts it to the population of the region as a whole and includes visitors paying sales tax."
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Here is the roster of state Republican leaders who agreed to participate in occasional Patch surveys, although not all participated in this one:
Earl Ehrhart State Represented District 36 Lindsey Tippins State Senate District 37 Tom Bevirt Former three-term city councilman/political columnist S. Malik Republican running for U.S. House Randy Scamihorn Republican running for Cobb County Board of Education Mike Korom Candidate for Gwinnett County Commission District 3 Ray Newman Political activist Jimmy Wilbanks Current officeholder Shelley Wynter Radio Host, Blogger, activist Mark Gorman Candidate for the Georgia House of Representatives Suzanne Ward Member of the Georgia Right to Life Organization John Albers State Senator Jake Lilley Outspoken Conservative Greg Pallen Running for 4th Congressional District, David McLeroy Norcross City Councilman Mike Lowry Organizer of the Transportation Leadership Coalition Claire Bartlett Activist Sarah Bell Activist, Candidate for Board of Commissioners Josh Belinfante Running for District 6 State Senate Jack Florek Activist Patty Berkovitz Activist Gabriel Sterling City Councilman B.J. Van Gundy Former 7th District GOP chairman Brooks Coleman Georgia State Representative Steve Broadbent Activist Ken Young Chair of Barrow County Republican Party Sharyl Dawes Activist Lynne Riley officeholder John Elliott Longtime party member Liz Hausmann officeholder Regina Quick Candidate and longtime party member and activist David Shafer officeholder Matt Brewster Chairman of local Republican party John Padgett former officeholder Bruce LeVell Gwinnett GOP chairman Leo Smith activist David Shafer Georgia State Senator Orit Sklar Activist Matt Reeves Gwinnett Bar Association President/Gwinnett GOP Counsel Jason Thompson 7th District GOP Chairman William Wood County GOP chair Howard Stopeck Running for the Georgia District 5 U.S. Congressional Seat Earl Cooper Running for Ga. House District 58 Dianne Devore North Fulton Tea Party Representative David Waters Sheriff candidate Brandon Roberts Cherokee Teen Republicans Leader Brian Laurens Leader: Cherokee GOP Conrad Quaglialroli Cherokee GOP Leader Linda Ruggiero Cherokee GOP Leader Gus Makris Activist Joe Dendy Activist Mike Mulcare Douglas County Commissioner Chris Vaughn Running for 4th Congressional district seat. Bob Snelling Running for GA House Seat, Former House Legislator Helen Story Activist Mike Miller Running for GA House seat, On Douglas County School Board Pat Graham Candidate for chair of Barrow County Board of Commissioners Leigh Wilson Activist Mickey Thompson Running for GA House seat, Former Douglasville Mayor Rose Wing Activist Janet Bell COBB GOP Ginger Howard Former Chair of Buckhead Republican Women Greg Williams Activist Phil Gingrey Current Office Holder Edward Lindsey Current Office Holder Bill Gannon Interested Citizen Roger Bonds Chairman, Fulton County GOP Pat Reynolds Activist Jan Mixon Activist Honey Van De Kreke Activist Jason Abbott Republican voter D.C. Aiken Current Alpharetta City Councilman Patrick Bell Current officeholder Lynn Jackson Fundraiser James McCoy Current officeholder Ted Paxton Current officeholder Ethan Underwood Current officeholder Doug Reynics Activist Melvin Davis Current Chairman of the Board of Commissioners John Marsh activist, longtime member Brett Harrell Current office holder, State House District 106 Travis Bowden Running for office, District 9, Senate Chuck Bagley Current District 2 Walton County Commissioner Bruce Williamson Current Georgia State Rep Tammy Gilland Treasurer of Oconee County GOP and Candidate for Board of Commissioners Fran Millar Current office holder Elaine Boyer officeholder Tom Taylor officeholder Terry Nall officeholder Helen von Waldner Activist Heather Campbell Member of the Georgia Right to Life Organization Ed Setzler Georgia House District 35 Representative Tommy Allegood Mayor, City of Acworth/GOP Member Butch Price Alderman Post 1, City of Acworth Joseph Gullett Head of the Paulding GOP Micah Gravley Former Paulding GOP chairman; Chuck Horton County Commissioner Joe Cobb GOP party member BJ Pak Ga. House District 102 officeholder David Casas Ga. House District 103 officeholder Brenda Lee Activist David Rodriguez GOP party member Drew Ellenburg Republican candidate Roy Roberts Head of Walton County Republican Party Bruce Williamson Georgia State Representative Gene Hobgood Mayor, Canton, GA Hooky Huffman City Council member, Canton, GA Danny Dukes Republican candidate for Cherokee County Board of Education Chair Brian Laurens Former First Vice Chair, Cherokee County Republican Party Christopher Sanders President of Atlanta Young Republicans Timothy Johnson Activist, Former Republican Chair and Delegate Mathew Hunt Atlanta Young Republican Member Sheila Appling Atlanta Black Republicans, Vice Chair Deidre Scott activist, member of Atlanta Young Republicans Channing Ruskell Candidate for Cherokee County Commission Lydia Hallmark member, Paulding County Republican Women's Club Grady Baggett Party member Earl Cooper State Rep District 58 GOP candidate Marjean Birt President, Chattahooche Republican Women's Club Bob Weatherford Alderman Post 3 Gene Pugliese Alderman Post 2 JoEllen Smith Running for House District 44 Seat Charlotte Nash Chairwoman, Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners Cris Eaton-Welsh Current City Councilmember Jason Saliba Assistant DA Carrie Springer Former candidate and campaign volunteer Artie Harton A citizen and loyal Republican voter James Stovall party member Sarah Zimny Activist Jim Paine Former Alpharetta City Councilman & former Mayor Pro Tem Joe Lockwood Milton Mayor Bobbie Frantz Georgia Federation of Republican Women, DeKalb GOP Sandra Langford activist Hussein K. Dido Running for District V Chairman of the Gwinnett County School Board Madison Jordan Republican activist Dan G Outspoken voter Barbara Hickey Chairwoman of Cobb Republican Women John Delves active community member
PhilDaniels RNC delegate Hayden Collins Candidate, Radio Host Barry Loudermilk Current Officeholder, Candidate Bill Heath Current Officeholder Louis DeBroux Local Party Chairman Rob Adkerson Local Republican Pary Vice Chair, Co-Founder of Local Tea Party Chris Sanders President Atlanta Young Republicans Kevin McCann Activist
Correction: A member of Patch's list of Democratic leaders was inadvertently added to this list. The name has been removed.