July 1, 2008
COLUMBUS, Ga. (WXTX)-- You've seen them at intersections and in between episodes of your favorite shows- ads for the proposed one percent Local Option Sales Tax or LOST.
Seventy percent of the funds from the sales tax would go to public safety and thirty percent would go towards roads and the city's infrastructure.
Voters will go to the polls July 15th to vote on the tax but before they do, members of Common Cause Columbus, a government watchdog group, say they need to be aware that the ads are misleading.
"Voters are being told in billboards and television ads sponsored by the Yes for Public Safety organization that the LOST is "not a tax increase." This is simply untrue," said Sam Rawls, Chairman of Common Cause.
Right now, the sales tax in Muscogee County is seven percent.
Two special purpose LOSTs are set to expire at the end of 2008 bringing the sales tax to five percent.
If the new LOST is approved, it will go to six percent.
"There is no plainer way to put it- that is a tax increase," added Rawls.
That's why the group wants these ads pulled.
They say the word "increase" is even on the ballot voters will see on July 15th.
The Yes for Public Safety organization says the wording is correct and the ads will not be pulled.
"Next year, if this referendum passes and we hope very seriously that it does, the sales tax will be less than it is now. Six is less than seven. It's true there's going to be a drop of two and increase of one but six is still less than seven and it is not a tax increase," says Milton Jones, Treasurer of Yes for Public Safety.
Members of Common Cause Columbus are urging everyone to vote on July 15th regardless of whether you vote "yes" or "no."