The penny sales tax for education is the only item on the county-wide ballot on next Tuesday, November 3. There is some concern that turn-out could impede the success of it passing.
Elliot Brack, Editor and Publisher of Gwinnett Forum puts a good case forward for the E-SPLOST:
Should the proposition fail, it also would put Gwinnett behind-the-eight ball in positioning itself to fund new school buildings for the ever-growing Gwinnett population. Yes, the county is still growing at a rate faster than many Georgia counties. Gwinnett schools gained 2,800 new students in the fall of 2015. The county is now teaching 176,000 students. The total Gwinnett population in 2014 was 877,922, up 18,068 in one year. Gwinnett operates the 13th largest school district in the nation, right after Palm Beach County, Fla., and right above Dallas, Tex.
Another reason to vote for the proposition is that its failure to pass would put Gwinnett County at a competitive disadvantage in economic development. That’s because companies planning to start up, or move, want to be in a community where there is a superb school district, as Gwinnett has now. That costs money, and the one cent for education sales tax has fueled school improvements in major infrastructure improvements since its first passage in 1997. Without the continued one penny for education, other counties would be out telling people that Gwinnett does not care about education! Horrors! It would be hard to sell companies that would bring additional jobs here.
Remember that the E-SPLOST is a tax for a specific purpose, in this case education. Too, it is sunsetted, and cannot be used but for the purposes in the proposition. Approving the tax is not a tax increase, but a continuation of collection of a penny for education on every retail sale in the county. Gwinnett has passed the continuation in 2001, 2006 and 2011.
The AJC notes: ”
Gwinnett officials want to use the money to build four new schools, make additions to nine schools, and pay for a host of technology upgrades, along with roofing, painting and carpeting in other schools. The Buford school district would get an estimated $22 million.
The sales tax extension is being supported by Gwinnett’s chamber of commerce. Local tea party leaders have been its biggest critics.
The cart below is from the AJC – if the embed doesn’t read well on your system, then I encourage to visit the original interactive chart here.