Last Thursday AJC editor Kevin Riley moderated a one-hour TSPLOST discussion with Commissioner Steve Brown, Norcross Mayor Bucky Johnson, GA Public Policy Adjunct Scholar Baruch Feigenbaum and Brookings Visiting Fellow Christopher Leinberger.
Bottom line up front: Steve and Baruch dominated the hour with facts, reason, and open questions that the TSPLOST supporters couldn't respond to. Near the beginning, AJC editor Riley looked over and said, "Well it looks like Steve Brown brought his facts again."
The predominant arguments by Bucky and Chris for the tax:
- It took a long time to get the law passed
- It's the first time all ten counties agreed on a large project
- Atlanta will go into an economic death spiral if the referendum isn't passed
- We've got to something
- We have to pass it to show Washington D.C. we're serious about getting matching money
- We have to show everyone else we're competitive with Charlotte, Houston, etc.
- "Hope and change"
- Clark Howard said we should (yes, Bucky literally used this as his summary
Bucky and Chris could not answer Steve's question, "How are we going to afford the recurring costs, especially after the 10 year tax ends?"
Chris alluded to the race issue at one point.
In the same week, CNBC released the results of a new survey of cities that ranks Georgia third in the country in infrastructure and first in workforce. Does this really look like an "economic death spiral"?
Folks, in my 48 years in Atlanta I have never seen such a ridiculous, beyond-all-reason attempt to extort money from us.
Please help vote down the TSPLOST.