“T-SPLOST list doesn’t spend the money where the traffic is”

Kyle Wingfield recently had a new column about Georgia’s proposed transportation sales tax increase, the T-SPLOST. Here is an excerpt that is particularly relevant to the residents of Alpharetta:

What’s more, 46 percent of the people in the 10-county region live OTP in Cobb, North Fulton, Dunwoody and Gwinnett. Likewise, 46 percent of the T-SPLOST’s projected revenues — $2.83 billion out of $6.14 billion — come from that northern swath.

Yet, the current project list would leave this region well short of its proportional take. Even if we include some federal funding tabbed for projects in the northern suburbs, they’d get shortchanged by $150 million. And you may as well ignore another $132 million for studying future transit along 400 and 85, since those two projects would be hundreds of millions of dollars and a decade or more away from existence.

Worse, about one in four dollars devoted to the area would go to a single rail project that would barely cross into Cobb.

Still, we are only now reaching the coup de grace. That would be Ellis’ wish to suck yet another $33 million out of the 400 corridor.

Doing so would leave an area that provides almost half the population and revenues for the T-SPLOST — and way more than half of the region’s traffic congestion — with barely one-third of the proceeds.    (emphasis mine)

Transportation is one of the biggest issues facing the city of Alpharetta and we do need a regional solution. But it becomes more apparent every day that the T-SPLOST is not that solution. Before we waste any more time I hope our state legislators will realize that we need a real solution and stop wasting precious time on a proposal that is destined for failure.

I encourage you to read the whole column here.

So how’s that liberalism working out for you Charlotte?

A few months ago Kyle Wingfield of the AJC wrote a column about the unhealthy habit many Atlantans have developed of pointing to Charlotte, North Carolina as an example of what we need to do here. Below is a sample:

One thing I’ve noticed since moving back to Georgia is how many people here spend an inordinate amount of time fretting about North Carolina, and specifically Charlotte. They’re building high-speed rail in North Carolina. They’re building light rail in Charlotte. They’re spending more money on incentives to lure businesses. They just landed the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

(Notice how many of the supposed superiorities in our northern neighbor concern left-wing causes; you don’t hear much about North Carolina leading the way in cutting red tape or privatizing inefficient state-government functions.)

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A little background: Even with things going so swimmingly in North Carolina — at least according to some people here in Georgia — the state’s voters just saw fit to turn out the majority party (the Democrats) in both chambers of the legislature. It’s the first time the state’s senate has been out of Democratic control since 1870.

And now a few facts that may help explain the political upheaval:

  • During the 2009 through 2012 fiscal years, North Carolina has had bigger budget shortfalls than Georgia all four years in absolute terms, and in three of the four years as a percentage of the state’s budget. This year, their budget shortfall is projected at $3.8 billion to our $1.7 billion.
  • North Carolina’s unemployment rate, at 9.8 percent, is just about the same as our 10.2 percent.
  • North Carolina was cited by the Tax Foundation as having one of the nation’s 10 worst business tax climates; Georgia is in the middle of the pack at No. 25.

The reason I bring this up again is that this weekend I saw an interesting post about Charlotte’s Mecklenberg county on Twitter:

House hunting in SC 2day. Our property taxes going up $2000 next year. $2000 tax increases might be fine in NJ & CA. Bye, bye MeckCo & #CLT

So a metro Charlotte resident is going to move across state lines because their taxes just went up $2000 a year in a horrible economy? Huge tax increases in Charlotte? That couldn’t be right… could it? Well it is according to a blogpost titled Our 6.3% Property Tax Increase:

By the time you read this our top elected local Socialist – I’m writing of course about Jennifer Roberts –  will have graciously presented you with a 6.3% property tax increase. We now have a property tax rate of $.8166 per $100 of accessed property. A revenue neutral rate would have been $.7678 per $100. This 6.3% increase will soak you for another $50 MILLION. For some reason the percentage increase was never mentioned by that bastion of journalistic integrity – The Charlotte Observer – in their breathless advocacy for the tax increase prior to Tuesday’s budget vote by the BOCC.

If you live in Charlotte (85% of Mecklenburg County residents) you have already been the highest taxed individual in North Carolina for the past ten years.In the FY 2009 budget year (last available statistics), Charlotteans were clipped on average $2,360. The median average in North Carolina was $1,304. That’s a mere 44% difference if you’re mathematically inclined. Thanks to Roberts, you are padding your lead.

One of the leading bastions of liberalism in the Southeast is now raising taxes during an economic depression because they have to pay for the expensive policies that many influential Atlantans want to duplicate. Makes me glad I live in Alpharetta, Georgia. My property taxes will actually decrease this year.

So how’s that liberalism working out for you Charlotte?

When your adversary is making a fool of himself, get out of the way

Kyle Wingfield had another great column in the AJC this week about the unhealthy obsession many Georgians have with what is going on in North Carolina. It is a great article and it I have noticed the same phenomenom.

To put it simply there are a lot of liberals in Georgia that are constantly harping about the way Charlotte, NC is beating us to the punch in adopting liberal policies. Of course many of these policies are currently driving the states of California, Illinois and New York into bankruptcy but that doesn’t seem to worry them as much as the possibility of Atlanta without more trains.

You can read all of Kyle’s column here.

Lyndon Johnson once said “When your adversary is making a fool of himself, get out of the way”. I hope Georgia’s political leaders heed that thought.

If you don’t read Kyle Wingfield, you should

I have mentioned the recent editorial changes at the Atlanta Journal before and the addition of Kyle Wingfield is one of the changes that has been the most encouraging.

Back in 2009 the AJC made a big deal out of their search for a conservative columnist and the fact that it was a big deal tells you the state of the paper back then. At the time I was highly skeptical of the iniative. Based on the AJC’s recent history I expected them to end up with some blue-blood, country club Republican like Peggy Noonan that professes conservatism but has no problem supporting Barack Obama as a candidate for President. At the time I was actually rooting for Will Collier to get the job. While I still think Will would have done a terrific job I was completely wrong about the columnist that eventually won the position, Kyle Wingfield.

Kyle has turned out to be an actual conservative that looks at the issues of the day through the lens of conservative principles and it is refreshing to read him in the Atlanta Journal. I may not always agree with Kyle but he does a great job of laying out his views and I don’t ever remember him taking a position that wasn’t consistent with conservative principles.

If you are conservative and are not reading Kyle Wingfield’s work on a regular basis, you should be. That is why I am adding him to the GA Jim blogroll.

You’ve come a long way baby!

There is no way the AJC would have printed this 5 years ago: “U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and others’ vision of transit-driven, dense urban communities should wait until we first make headway on reducing regional traffic jams.” It makes so much sense I think Andre Jackson must have slipped a peek at GA Jim lately.  

Seriously though, I have taken plenty of shots at the Atlanta Journal Constitution over the years so I do want to acknowledge the change in their coverage the past year or so. The addition of Kyle Wingfield and the subtraction of Cynthia Tucker on the editorial page have made Atlanta’s paper much less predictable and therefore more readable and interesting.

Congratulations AJC! The bad news is that you must be pi**ing off people on both sides of the aisle now. The good news is that they both have to read you to find out whose turn it is.

Read the whole thing here:  http://bit.ly/avlcCX