I have received a demand for a retraction of my post “500 Good Reasons To Trust The T-SPLOST,” because somebody thought I had implied that Citizens For Transportation Mobility was not disclosing what they are spending on their efforts to persuade us to vote yes to a 1 percent increase in sales tax to pay for transportation improvements. Well, let me correct that RIGHT NOW. Citizens for Transportation Mobility, Inc, has, in fact, NOT disclosed what they are spending on their campaign. And they will continue to NOT disclose what they are spending until the week of July 16, which is 10 – 15 days before the vote on the tax increase. CTM’s secrecy is in full compliance with Georgia’s disclosure laws, in spite of what you may have assumed by reading the website of the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, our state’s most powerful agency.
Also, while we can’t say for certain, they’re probably NOT developing jet packs. I’m very sorry to disappoint any of you who thought otherwise.
This tax increase is a pretty big deal -it should raise $6 or $7 billion over ten years, to fund
transportation fixes in the metro Atlanta region. The campaign to persuade you to vote yes to the tax increase is a pretty big deal, too. In addition to a website, videos, mailers, and the usual stuff of a political campaign, Jim Galloway points out a concerted effort by CTM folks to “reach out” to employers and have bosses “encourage” their employees to turn out on July 31. These employers are definitely NOT telling their employees which way to vote, because that might be taken the wrong way. But as Galloway points out, it would only take a small percentage of employees in the region who might believe their jobs were at stake and vote “yes” to sway the election. One would hope that a newspaper that’s put such an emphasis on lobbyists spending more than $100 to take legislators to dinner would have a few questions about the millions being spent on this campaign and things like its employer “outreach” program. One would also hope for jet packs.
Part of the reason we have campaign disclosure laws at all is so that the public can be informed about who is donating to any particular campaign. The sources of campaign funding are part of how voters form opinions about candidates. But in Georgia, since early voting starts on July 9 and ballot committees are not required to disclose donations received or spent until the July 15th (at the earliest) a good number of voters will not be able to get that information until after they have voted. Citizens for Transportation Mobility did not write the disclosure laws, and they are adhering to them. Any of you who want to know who’s funding the campaign for the biggest thing on the ballot next month should take it up with your state legislator. Just don’t spend more than $100 on a meal or gift for them when you do!
So, to recap: My post, “500 Good Reasons To Trust T-SPLOST” is hereby retracted. There are 0 good reasons to trust the T-SPLOST. Any implication that Citizens for Transportation Mobility Inc., is in violation of Georgia’s campaign laws by hiding their campaign spending is also retracted. CTM’s secrecy is completely legal. And jet packs, while not fictional, are highly impractical and probably not being developed by anyone.