To Challenge Kemp Over TIA Ballot Language

Here’s you’re first T-SPLOST/TIA post of the week. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Received via press release:

July 2, 2012, Roswell, GA – Today, the Transportation Leadership Coalition (TLC) took the first formal step towards litigation challenging Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp for adding promotional language to the official state ballot in order to promote passage of Referendum 1. Referendum 1, commonly called T-SPLOST, is an $18B transportation program funded by a sales and use increase that is subject to voter approval in the July 31, 2012 primary election.

On behalf of TLC, Atlanta attorney Pitts Carr has taken the necessary initial action to protect the Georgia state ballot from political interference. Carr is a founding partner of the nationally recognized firm Pitts & Carr and served Georgia as a special assistant attorney general in the challenge to the constitutionality of individual mandate within the Patient Protection and Affordability Act.

TLC recently uncovered that promotional language, in addition to the ballot question provided by the legislature, was added to Georgia’s official ballot to encourage passage of Referendum 1, the T-SPLOST sales tax increase for road and transit projects. The Secretary of State took responsibility for the language and the unprecedented act of modifying the ballot with no apparent legal authority.


    • saltycracker says:

      From my sample ballot:
      Referendum 1 Atlanta Regional District T-SPLOST

      (In bold:)
      Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight.

      (not so bold:)
      Shall Cherokee County’s transportation system and the transportation network in this region and the state be improved by providing for a 1 percent special district transportation sales and use tax for the purpose of transportation projects and programs for a period of ten years ?


  1. Spacey G says:

    N’mind. I found this: ‘The preamble states, “Provides for local transportation projects to create jobs and reduce traffic congestion with citizen oversight.” ‘

    Peach Pundit needs to run a TSPLOST-a-Meter.

  2. Blake says:

    Hilarious. As if representing Georgia in its challenge to PPACA was somehow a yardstick of attorney achievement.

    Then again, maybe it’s only meant as a yardstick of ideological identification.

    • View from Brookhaven says:

      Well, obviously.

      Certainly I’ll expect no objection when some similar language is added to inevitable ballot questions on charter schools/abortion/etc.

  3. saba says:

    ” Referendum 1, commonly called T-SPLOST, is an $18B transportation program funded by a sales and use increase that is subject to voter approval in the July 31, 2012 primary election.”

    This is an $8.5 billion program.

    The $18 billion number is the combined total savings regional residents will experience by 2040 due to increased travel time savings and reduced fuel costs.

  4. seekingtounderstand says:

    Looks like they would figure out that after the republicans have majority rule in the Ga legislature, and a majority possibly in the House of Reps. and Senate with a Republican President, heck they could get alot more money than 8.5 billion to direct to their friends and family.
    And we will have no oversight what so ever………………so vote no and give them a chance to go for more without worry of any oversight from the Federal Government or State.

  5. Harry says:

    saba – Each penny of sales tax collected by Georgia was worth $1.33 billion added to the state revenues for 2012 according to the “Georgia Budget in Brief”. Therefore, I assume what would be collected annually by T-SPLOST over 10 years would amount to $13.3 billion. Paying out $13.3 billion over ten years to get $18 billion supposed return over the next 28 years, is not the world’s greatest investment.

    • Harry says:

      Actually, correct me if I’m wrong but I believe I read that the T-SPLOST would apply to groceries and prescription drugs, so the actual annual revenue would be substantially more than $1.3 billion, which figure comes from a tax base that does not pick up those items.

  6. wicker says:

    Went to As expected – and as usual – they provided no viable alternatives. Their blog merely links to people that are A) floating worthy individual projects that do not come close to being a comprehensive solution (the very same lack of foresight and regional cooperation that got us into this mess in the first place) and B) proposing pipe dreams.

    Example: their blog links to one columnist whose big idea is express buses, claiming that they have been proven effective in traffic reduction. Never mind that Clayton and other counties have curtailed or eliminated Roy Barnes’ big express bus idea in recent years. His other ideas simply consist of projects here and there to relieve bottlenecks, temporary solutions which are fine if the assumption is that the Atlanta population is going to remain stagnant or decline, but will not handle future growth. He states “previous studies, like the Regional Transit Action Plan presented a financially realistic regional transit plan” but the problem is that he and the other T-SPLOST opponents didn’t do a thing to actually get that or any other plan implemented when they had the many chances. The fellow lists RTAP as an alternative only because T-SPLOST is on the table. Once the T-SPLOST threat is gone, RTAP won’t be a good idea anymore either. Similar to the healthcare debate. Conservatives liked the individual mandate when HillaryCare was on the table. But after HillaryCare was defeated, the individual mandate became the jackboot of socialist oppression. (Not defending ObamaCare, which will be devastating to small businesses, just making the comparison.)

    Another blog entry: more of the same … a suburbs advocate who merely resents the Atlanta-centered emphasis and wants the plan to be designed around the suburbs which totally ignores the huge percentage of the traffic that goes into and out of Atlanta. Actually, he is only an advocate of the NORTHERN suburbs, because building a ring AROUND Atlanta to get from the northern to the southern suburbs instead of going THROUGH Atlanta makes no sense. But his column is more of a grand philosophical vision that contains practically no actual concrete solutions.

    And of course, there is the usual MARTA baiting. Why don’t the people who oppose MARTA so much just call for it to be ended? Defunded, dismantled and stripped for parts? Well they won’t do THAT because deep down they know that the low-income people need it to get to work. So, it is far more fun and politically useful to just disingenuously kick it around, just like the left does with the military and the police.

    I am not saying that people should go out and vote for T-SPLOST because of the lack of viable alternatives. But I am saying that the people who oppose T-SPLOST without proposing viable alternatives are unfit to lead this region or state.

    • rrrrr says:

      So if you DON’T agree, you can’t lead?

      I guess we will see the proof AFTER the vote, but it appears that the opponents CAN lead at this point – just considering the polling results thus far and the difference in funding levels alone.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      I agree with your most of your sentiments and emphatize and understand your frustrations.

      But you’ve got to keep things in perspective and realize and recognize that it’s not the job of the opponents of something, whether it be T-SPLOST at the regional and state level or ObamaCare at the federal level, to come up with or press for a viable alternative.

      Sure, it may help matters for opponents of an unpopular proposal to have at least one viable alternative to and levy constructive criticism to keep the tone of a debate relatively civil.

      But at the end of the day, even though people may not necessarily be able to express exactly why in totality a law should not be enacted in the larger scheme of things, they still know that they don’t like a particular law because of the way that it may affect them personally.

      Most people just know that in the increasingly unlikely event that this thing passes they will be paying substantially higher taxes to give to people that they don’t particularly like or trust (the government) to fund projects that they think will have no real positive effect for them personally.

      For example, conservative OTP suburbanites think that they are being asked to raise their own taxes to pay for MARTA, the Beltline, trolleys on Peachtree and economic development projects in the city that will only benefit liberal Intown urbanites they have nothing in common with politically or socially and pretty much despise.

      While liberal Intown urbanites think that they are being asked to raise their own taxes to pay to widen roads that they will likely rarely, if ever, use personally to support a lifestyle for conservative OTP suburbanites that they can’t stand.

      Both Conservative OTP suburbanites and Liberal Intown urbanites think that they are being asked to raise their own taxes to give money to a government that has proven itself increasingly untrustworthy that they think will only give their money to their well-connected friends and cronies to build projects that will only benefit a few well-off special interests and make their commutes and overall quality-of-life even worse in the long run by creating more unplanned and unsustainable sprawl and overdevelopment.

  7. Bob Loblaw says:

    Funny how nobody has noticed that Georgia has used ballot question preambles until now. I really do think its time for me to consider drafting something akin to Cliff’s notes on Georgia government.

    • saltycracker says:

      Nah, we southerners have always expressed things in a way that meant the opposite –

    • rrrrr says:

      @ Bob
      Maybe you have an example of a non constitutional, non statewide item to show us here?

      After all, this is being voted on REGIONALLY, not really statewide – right?

  8. Romegaguy says:

    Why sue Kemp? How does the Agriculture Commissioner have anything to do with ballots?

          • Calypso says:

            Nah, probably not many outside Georgia care, well, maybe the Southeast at most, but not the nation.

          • Lawton Sack says:

            It was not a brain fart. Romegaguy has been cracking on Kemp for a long, long time on Peach Pundit. Referring to Kemp and the Ag Commissioner position is a long running joke around here for him. A quick Google search shows that Romegaguy has been antagonizing Kemp on Peach Pundit since at least 2005.

            • Calypso says:

              Can one truly antagonize another if the object of one’s antagonism is unaware of the action? Is not antagonism, by definition, a reciprocal relationship wherein the antagony must be both offered by the antagonist and acknowledged by the antagonee? If a tree falls in the forest, does an environ-wacko still get bent out of shape and set fire to Hummers at the dealership?

              By the way, I think Kemp is doing a bang-up job as Agriculture Commissioner.

                • Calypso says:


                  12:42 am?

                  I guess we burn our candles on opposite ends. Except on the weekend, then I try not to burn a candle at all.

                  Is there a ‘Z’?

                  • saltycracker says:


                    You can stay out until 5 AM & come in to blog ?
                    – let’s go over “it is 5 o’clock somewhere” a bit slower…..

                    sure hope you kicked open the door and shouted down the hall….anyone here want to fool around ?…..she’ll pretend to be asleep !…..once….

                    • Calypso says:

                      You have my hours backwards. After six hours sleep, I’m up at 4:45 am, fix lunch for my lovely wife to take to school, and then read PP while enjoying coffee before heading to the office. Except on weekends, then I sleep late, sometimes as late as 8am.

                      Your scenario does sound a lot more exciting, I’ll have to admit. But alas, I am not as young as I once was, so this will have to suffice for now.

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