Henry County voters turned down the one cent Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (T-SPLOST).
There were 32,776 total votes cast in Henry County on the T-SPLOST referendum, of those 9,405 voters said yes, and 23,371 voters said no, at press time Tuesday.
“The Chamber of Commerce is disappointed the voters rejected the T-SPLOST referendum,” said Henry County Chamber of Commerce President Kay Pippin. “However, addressing our region’s transportation funding needs remains a serious concern that will require us to work even harder to find a solution to this ever-growing challenge. The Chamber remains committed to the growth and development of our community and will continue to seek opportunities to make Henry County a better place to live and work.”
Most of the voters at the Hampton Elementary School precinct said no to the T-SPLOST.
Susan Chance said there were a number of reasons she voted against the transportation referendum.
“First of all, I used to live off of [Georgia] Highway 400,” said Chance, 41. “I had to pay the 50-cent toll, and they said as soon as the road was paid for they would take down the toll booth, they have not done that. Basically, they lied. So why should I trust them to end T-SPLOST 10 years from now?
“Furthermore, I feel that Georgia taxpayers are already overtaxed, and If we want to create new jobs and have businesses come into the state, we should limit the taxes and focus on higher standards for education,” added Chance.
Rogers Pittman, 54, said he voted against T-SPLOST because he regrets the last time he voted in favor of a tax increase to reduce traffic.
“The traffic got worse and worse,” said Pittman. “I’m not sure about how they use the funds because in the past they spent SPLOST money for other purposes. ... We didn’t see any changes in traffic.”
Christopher Dodd, 60, said he voted no on the T-SPLOST option.
“They are not doing anything in Henry County and I don’t drive to downtown Atlanta,” said Dodd. “I am not convinced that this is not lining politicians’ pockets.”
“We are already paying more taxes than we need to, I don’t see the need in it myself,” said Mark Gaines, 35. “Even though they made the money to pay for the [Georgia Highway 400] bond they still extended it, and another thing that bothered me was ironically Gov. Deal has decided to end collecting the tolls, at the end of 2013. I personally feel like it’s a ploy to get voters to trust the government again to approve [T-SPLOST.]”
“I voted no on T-SPLOST because I never could figure out how it was going to help Henry County,” said Vera Wise, 68. Her son, Hebert Blalock also voted against the transportation measure.
“I could see it helping the north metro Atlanta, but I didn’t see how residents of Henry County could benefit,” said Blalock.
However, Keith Bruce, 46, said he voted in favor of T-SPLOST.
“Who wouldn’t?” asked Bruce. “If they have ever sat in traffic, why would they vote no?”
Voters responded to other questions on the Democrat and the Republican ballots:
Henry County Democrats voted on the following:
• Should the Georgia Constitution be amended to allow the state to override locally-elected school boards’ decisions when it comes to the creation of charter schools in your county or city? The total votes were 10,332 — of those 4,577 said yes and 5,755 said no.
• Do you support ending current practice permitting unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators? The total votes were 10,375 — of those 7,735 said yes and 2,640 said no.
• Should Georgia adopt an income tax credit for home energy costs to support the economic security of our families? The total votes were 10,364 — of those said 8,451yes and 1,913 said no.
• Should Georgia reduce sales taxes on Made in Georgia products so as to support the growth of small businesses in our state? There were 10,432 total votes, of which 9,421 said yes and 1,011 said no.
Henry County Republican voted on the following:
• Should Georgia have casino gambling with funds going to education? There were 21,286 votes — of those 10,768 yes and 10, 518 no.
• Do you support ending the current practice of unlimited gifts from lobbyists to state legislators by imposing a $100 cap on such gifts? The total votes were 21,080 — of those 18,743 voters said yes and 2,337 voters said no.
•Should active duty military personnel who are under age of 21 be allowed to obtain a Georgia weapons license? The total votes were, 21,126 of those — 15,360 voters said yes, and 5,766 voters said no.
• Should citizens who wish to vote in a primary election be required to register by their political party affiliation at least 30 days prior to such primary election? The total votes were 20,920 — with 10,225 voters saying yes and 10,695 no.
• Should the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provided that the paramount right to life is vested in each innocent human being from his or her earliest biological beginning without regard to age, race, sex, health, function, or condition of dependency? There were 20,287 total votes — of which 13,548 voters said yes and 6,739 voters said no.