The Roads & Bridges Subcommittee of the Senate Transportation Committee heard testimony but didn’t vote on Senate Bill 73 which would remove the penalty in the form of different rates to supply the local share of project in regions that passed the tax compared to those that didn’t.
The government of Augusta-Richmond County, for example, only has to pay for 10 percent of a transportation project while the state pays the remaining 90 percent since it is in one of the three regions that approved the tax.
Northwest Georgia counties, on the other hand, have to put up 30 percent because that 15-county region soundly rejected the tax. Sixty-five percent of Floyd County voters were opposed to the 10-year collection, which would have raised $1.4 billion for the region.
Officials in Rome and Floyd County, however, have said they already contribute a local match of about 30 percent for state road allocations in the form of in-kind labor.
The bill’s author, Sen. John Albers, R-Roswell, said it’s un-American to penalize citizens for not taxing themselves.
But Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Appling, argued the sales-tax vote was based on the idea of local control, and that regions that rejected it made their own decisions.
They can hold another vote in two years if they want to escape the penalty, he added, including metro Atlanta where traffic is the worst.
Night editor Diane Wagner contributed to this report.