Local schools would lose $4 million annually and local governments overall $12 million annually, because HB 170 would “re-allocate local sales tax funding from local governments to the state of Georgia”, resolved Valdosta’s Mayor and Council last Thursday. Plus HB 170 would effectively authorize “double taxation of municipal residents”, because both Lowndes County and Valdosta would have to raise property taxes, which would result in Valdosta’s citizens being taxed more twice (by both the county and the city). For how serious Valdosta considers this threat to its ability to provide services to local citizens, witness how fast this resolution got passed (within weeks after HB 170 was introduced into the legislature) compared to how long it took for Valdosta to pass a resolution against the Sabal Trail pipeline (about eighteen months).
Here’s the complete text of the Valdosta resolution that passed 5 Febuary 2015. See also Valdosta’s PR about this resolution, which contains links to the evidence, and Valdosta’s letter to the sponsor of the bill.
RESOLUTION NO. 2015-3
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 Lowndes County could lose approximately $12,387,653.89 million annually, including proceeds to the Valdosta City government, the Lowndes County government and the Lowndes County and Valdosta City School Systems; and
WHEREAS, the proposed bill would reduce local SPLOST funding, local LOST collections used for funding services and property tax reduction and local E-SPLOST funding to the school systems by approximately $4,129,217.96 for each tax 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 Council 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 City Council of Valdosta, Georgia 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 City Council of Valdosta, Georgia. held on the 5th day of February, 2015, and adopted at said meeting by the affinnative vote of seven members of the Mayor and Council.
Mayor John Gayle, City of Valdosta
Teresa S. Bolden, Clerk of Council