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Byrne: 'Hell No' to Raising Taxes

The former Cobb commission chairman and challenger vowed at Tuesday's candidates forum never to be like "a damn Democrat” to expand Cobb government services.

The controversial TSPLOST took center stage during Tuesday night’s Cobb County Commissioner Chairman forum.

All three challengers opposed the special purpose local option sales tax aimed at funding transportation projects in metro Atlanta.

“I’m running to do everything I can to defeat TSPLOST,” said Bill Byrne to applause from the audience.

Mike Boyce cited the TSPLOST as one of the four taxes imposed over the last 19 months by the current commissioners.

“I’m running to bring conservative government to Cobb County,” Boyce said. “Four new taxes in 19 months, that’s not a Republican. That’s not conservative.”

Incumbent Tim Lee listed off the numerous accomplishments during his tenure as the current chairman.

“Cobb County has the lowest property tax in Metro Atlanta, the smallest operating budget in Metro Atlanta,” Lee said. “Cobb County has one of the lowest sales tax rates in Metro Atlanta.”

The TSPLOST came up during several questions, including talk of a light rail for the county, an idea that was shot down by the challengers.

“Would you give someone $698 million when you don’t know what they are going to do with it?” Boyce asked. “Even worse, giving it to the government? We voted no to bring it in back when the analysis was done. How many times do we have to tell the government Cobb County does not want a rail?”

When Byrne was asked about initiating new services or expanding current ones, his answer was simple.

“In the middle of a recession and you want to raise taxes like a damn Democrat?” he said. “My answer is no, no, and if you didn’t understand that, then hell no.”

Larry Savage agreed that the county couldn’t afforded new programs in the current economic climate.

“I can’t think of anything to add,” Savage said. “There’s enough on the county’s plate right now.”

Byrne and Lee did agree on one point: the need for public safety.

“Cobb County has a wide breadth of services, but public safety is our number one priority,” Lee said.

Lee cited several instances where he and the county commissioners had worked with local law enforcement to make sure they had the proper equipment for their jobs. Byrne used his opening statements to drive home the need for well-funded police and fire departments.

“Public safety must always be our number one priority,” Byrne said. “I’m running to restore public safety as our number one priority.”

The commissioner chairman primary as well as the TSPLOST vote will be held July 31.

Melinda Paris July 12, 2012 at 11:33 AM
I will NEVER VOTE myself another tax, because sooner or later officials will impose one on us, so AX THE TAX on 31 July. Most of this money is heading to the city of Atlanta, I'm tired of supporting "OTHERS", take a stand folks, this is NOT going to change our traffic nightmares, VOTE NO for the lies they are spewing!!!! NO MORE TAX!!
John A Delves July 12, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Go figure. Why would some one put up or rather collect 6 to 8 million dollars to convince folk like you and me we need a transit system that does not eliviate congestion by any measure. Someone figures they are going to get a whole lot more back on the initial investment. 60 to 70% of our dollars would be spent across the river in Fulton County in building something that wont work. Try adding a $10.00 a day fee to every parking space in Atlanta and see if then maybe folk might ride a busline. How about three cents per gallon of gas and have the funds totally tagged for transportation and then you wouldn't need a TAX or FEE or whatever they want to hide it as. I have been told the same dollars would come in over the ten year program.
Chuck Baird July 12, 2012 at 03:39 PM
TSPLOST is just another example of people who have lost touch with normality. Why do elected officials look at everything as a problem? We have a rapidly growing area (Atlanta area) and of course there are traffic problems. There are many answers other than throwing more money (that no one has now) into the mix. Typical politicians can easily say, "Let's build something to alleviate the problem." without any thought about it. After all, it is not their money they will be spending, it is YOURS! Take a look at your children and your grandchildren if you have any and try to imagine how THEY are going to pay for it. That is who these taxes will affect in order for you to have a fifteen minute shorter drive to work. (And that most likely won't happen anyway in the long run...)
Bruce July 12, 2012 at 09:10 PM
There will never be enough money for politicians and special interests. There is not a revenue problem but a spending problem. This ends when we end it by voting against all this darn spending. You better tell your friends and everyone you meet to vote against this 10 year tax.
Erik Fernald July 13, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Maybe we should vote for a tax where we can give a 100% of all our money, that way they can not ask for more.
Lini Norway July 13, 2012 at 01:01 PM
You Americans must NEVER say yes to more taxes... you don't know how lucky you are to have freedom to choose and the chance to affect the politicians! I'm from Norway, and know everyting about how the government control us and uses our money with no interest of the "little man". I pay 36 % in tax to government of my monthly income every month.. but I must wait in healthline for months if I'm sick... I'm driving on roads with big holes.. and Norway is a very rich country. Our government wants to control everything we do. "That's forbidden, this is forbidden, it's the law". And there is a lot of crime here... Just a friendly advice from Norway.
Melinda Paris July 13, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Thank you Lini Norway!! I have friends that live all over the world, we have Canadians that come here frequently for their health care, (of course, that will change) I will never understand why anyone would believe politician's lies, they never tell the entire truth, so I read, I research and I talk to other's that have the same "wonderful" things that are advertised to us, and when you do that, you find out its not so WONDERFUL. Where I live, our policemen, firemen and other's were FORCED to take furlough days this year/last year-we had fire houses that sat empty somedays/nights in the last year unknown to MOST of the citizens of this County. (Cobb) but, then we have our commissioners of this same county building a sidewalk that cost millions in front of a cemetary on Dallas Hwy; that very few will use, and also they built a new BRIDGE in a walking trail park that cost us tax payer's millions more. I'M SICK AND TIRED of the WASTE of my tax dollars and I HAVE FINALLY STARTED VOCALIZING MY DISPLEASURE AFTER YEARS OF SITTING ON MY BUTT AND DOING NOTHING!! Enough of this junk. We shouldn't live in this area and go to bed and the local fire house can't even open cause firemen are on needed vacations, but to add to that, the other's are on FORCED FURLOUGH..I'M VOTING NO TO THIS LATEST TAX-They are BREAKING OUR BANK, ENOUGH!!!
Lini Norway July 13, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Hi Melinda Paris :) Oh my.. I think it's a real shame that the firestation was empty, and especially without you folks knewed about it. Yes I'm so agree with you. No politician will ever tell the entire truth. Unfortunately it will always bee like that I guess. But we all have choices and we must vote for what we believe in and think is the best for our community. So good to hear you are vocalizing your opinions :D Here is what I ment about how lucy you are to have freedom: For example - I would rather pay for a health insurance myself and get the opportunity to decide. I rather think that I'm a person which can think and take decisions, not the government taking them for me without my permission or votes. Here in Norway, the government don't listen to us. For example the question about joining EU.. in majority we vote NO to join EU.. and yet we now are member of EØS and now have many rules and restrictions from EU. Heard about saving and store every datamovement and save/store phonecalls and messages? Our government now do that.. without letting us vote for it... I don't have anything to hide, but the point is respect for the privacy and you don't want to feel like you're being stalked from the government for having an another opinion about how things are. Another example: I don't want to pay property tax on a house that is payed for, because it's by property, not the government.
Gus July 15, 2012 at 05:12 PM
It is sad that you will not support the tax because "some" of the money will be spend in "Atlanta", :others". Every decision is made based ion bigotry. The state needs modern transportation and infrastructures, so all these talks of :public safety" will not create more jobs and improve the economy. Just political crap.
Gus July 15, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Melinda, no one is taking away your health insurance and no one will. So, please stop repeating the nonsense. If you decide to have private insurance that is your choice and you can purchase it and again, NO ONE IS GOING TO TAKE IT AWAY FROM YOU.
Brian July 16, 2012 at 09:06 AM
This article shows how un-informed the commissioners are. First of all, TSPLOST is a sales tax. Quote: “Would you give someone $698 million when you don’t know what they are going to do with it?” Too bad the commissioners didn't bother to take the time to read the project list. Quote: "Larry Savage agreed that the county couldn’t afforded new programs in the current economic climate." Many of the _program_ that would come out of it (e.g. some transit in Cobb County) would not need operational funding (assuming ridership didn't cover it) for another 10 years or more. The economic climate is likely to be different at that point.
Brian July 16, 2012 at 09:10 AM
That argument would work if Georgia weren't one of the lowest funded transportation systems in the country. Almost every state pays more, per-capita, than Georgia. That is fact and not opinion. Unfortunately, due to many years of that rhetoric, Georgia is forced to play catch-up to other metro areas that have spent money on expanding transit.
Brian July 16, 2012 at 09:15 AM
If you want to save money on government and transportation, attack OPERATIONAL costs, not capital costs. Capital costs are important for our infrastructure and to attract business. Instead, attack the fact that although businesses mostly use digital means to process data and have user-facing systems versus paper processes, that the government is very much still using paper processes for many things. That requires hiring of many additional employees than would be necessary if systems were more widely used. Obama put forth an executive order a while back that the government needs to be more digitized. That's what we need - so services can scale more without hiring as many people.
Lini Norway July 16, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Everyone: be glad that your government let you VOTE for something that is imortant to you and your community. More taxes or not - you people get the ability to vote for it. In my socialistic country, the government is very glad to give us more and higher taxes... fair enough if we had the chance to vote for it or had seen something of the money, but we usual don't because it's more important to give lazy people money so they can continue sitting on their butt, feel sorry for them selfs and doing nothing!!! Because of knowledge, I just want to say that more taxes and raising taxes gives the government more power to control, and that is what socialists wants... and the taxes will never decrease if it raises.
Roz July 28, 2012 at 04:03 AM
I'll take a refund of all of MY tax $ that was mis-used to CREATE the mess, please. I've voted NO to this as well...ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. And, here where I was raised, ENOUGH has been mis-used, mis-spent and mis-appropriated. Transportation, indeed.
Roz August 21, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Gus, why do you seem to target Melinda and constantly berate her posts on comments?? Everyone's circumstances are different. This will affect me tremendously as well, and, I'm sure my circumstances are different even than hers. Everyone else may not have the *cush* life that you make yourself out to have via your badgering comments. Belittling and bullying others really is so unbecoming.
Melinda Paris August 21, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Well Gus--I do have health Insurance that I DO PAY FOR AND HAVE paid for the last 20 years. So what are YOU talking about? and yes, why do you take aim at me for my opinions? So, You are the only one that can voice an opinion on this blog, is that it? I don't agree w/ you HOWEVER, you still have the right to your opinions, same as me. Its called RESPECT other's. I did read what we were getting out of the TSPLOST tax here in West Cobb. We were going to get more CCT buses to run down I-75 to downtown, so it wasn't worth it for me. No one will ever convince me to go to the polls and be excited to vote YES for another tax! If you don't agree with anyone that's fine, but don't single me out over and over. Its tiring and its over anyway, the majority didn't want the tax and they spoke in volumes by exercising their right as citizens, AND please don't make me promises about things in the future, you just never know what's to come!

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