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Pennington to speak on TSPLOST

On July 9, Georgia residents will begin early voting for the primary to be held on July 31. Among issues to be decided is the Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax, better known as T-SPLOST. If approved, the measure will provide for an additional 1% sales tax to fund transportation initiatives within the region. To help people become better educated upon the issue, the Barnesville chapter of the John Birch Society and the Middle Georgia Tea Party are holding a joint meeting Tuesday, July 10, at the Garden Patch Restaurant in Barnesville. The speaker will be Dalton Mayor David Pennington, an outspoken advocate for fiscal discipline at all levels of government and a sought-after speaker on the subject of T-SPLOST. Mayor Pennington graduated from Dalton High School, Dalton Junior College and the University of Georgia and has served as Mayor of Dalton since 2008. He is married with two children. As a third-generation Dalton businessman, Pennington founded Advanced Insurance Strategies in Dalton. All over the state, interested parties are erecting billboards and purchasing other advertising supporting this measure. The purpose of this meeting is to provide people with the opportunity to hear about the ‘other side’ of T-SPLOST. Mayor Pennington’s topic for the evening will be ‘TSPLOST: It’s the wrong tax at the wrong time chasing the wrong solution.’ The program will begin at 7 p.m. but the public is invited to come as early as 6 p.m. for dinner at the Garden Patch. Dinner will be at normal restaurant rates, but there is no charge for the program. For information, contact Jere Moore at 678-369-0227, or via email at tsplost@gritscountry.com. The 2010 Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 277, known as the Transportation Investment Act, to create 12 special tax districts across Georgia to provide for a special district transportation sales and use tax in those districts. The Three Rivers special district Roundtable, of which Lamar County is a part, officially approved a final investment list to be funded through T-SPLOST, joining with Upson County to four-lane Highway 36 from I-75 to Thomaston. Both counties would also have money for unspecified road improvements. Butts County is also doing some improvement work on Highway 36. The special 1% sales and use tax is not to exceed a projected $947,047,315 for the entire district over up to 10 years beginning Jan. 1, 2013. In all, 75% of the projected revenue will fund the approved projects and 25% will be directly distributed to cities and counties in the Three Rivers district using the recently approved LOST distribution percentages. If more than half the votes cast all over the 10-county district are in favor of levying the tax the tax will be levied districtwide, whether individual counties pass it or not. In a yes-or-no vote, the referendum will ask: ‘Shall Lamar County’s transportation system and the transportation network in this region and the state be improved by providing for a one percent special district transportation sales and use tax for the purpose of transportation projects and programs for a period of 10 years?’

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