From now on, this weekly Newsletter will be called ROBERT A. MILLS'S OP-ED COLUMN. Access it and enjoy!
Newsletter Dated: 6/2/2012 5:01:27 AM
Subject: 1% - June 2
1% of $1 = 1¢. That’s what people in my community who obviously have nothing better to do are supposed to vote on late this July. A 1% sales tax increase to fund transportation roadwork that will synchronize traffic lights, extend MARTA a few more miles, and relieve rush hour congestion. Yes or no, up or down. We’ll see.
Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
Retired, I no longer drive beyond a fifteen-mile radius of my home and never during rush hour (and then only if I get a coupon for a free meal). Why the traffic signals were not synchronized when they were installed in the first place is beyond me. And the only time I ever ride MARTA is to occasionally attend a Braves’ or Falcons’ game — so seldom it hardly matters.
On top of the 1% tax increase, now the Falcons want to build a new stadium to replace the Georgia Dome. It is estimated to cost more than a billion dollars, but, wake up, little Susie, it will not help — I will still attend very few games, preferring to watch TV each Sunday while Arthur Blank and his entourage make more money than the entire Episcopal diocese combined.
The last time I attended a Falcons’ game my personal priestess was still alive. She arranged a ‘field pass’ for me, and although I’d never been on the ground floor before, so to speak, I can’t recall a more splendid sporting venue.
Today, come to think of it, sitting barefoot in my shorts and t-shirt in front of a giant flat screen at home is as good as watching an athletic competition from a private skybox — and a helluva lot cheaper! The fridge, stocked with ice cold beverages, is right behind me, the bathroom is but a few steps away down the hall, and the remote control, should the game prove too dull to bear, is right beside me.
Either at home — or from Rich Stadium to the War Memorial to the Georgia Dome or Turner Field — I have always been “comped” skybox seats (or similar) with plenty to eat and drink at my fingertips. There (or here) I’m too spoiled (or too old) to change.
Arthur Blank, co-founder of Home Depot and owner of the Falcon football franchise — not to mention the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, a string of physical therapy centers and the PGA Tour Stores — has a net worth of several billion dollars, not exactly in the ballpark with Warren Buffet, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, but a world-class fat cat nonetheless. He could without blinking write a check for the construction of a new Georgia Dome, and they could name it the Blank House That Blank Built.
But he won’t. Better the hoy-paloy trot to the polls and vote on a 1% sales tax increase at the start, and if that passes, the new stadium could be the next morsel on the taxpayers’ plate.
What happens if the voters reject the bill? The wise pundits say an automatic tax increase to get the roadwork done is inevitable, and of course that will require the next state legislature get on the stick and make sure it becomes a reality, which they will. In either event, it would seem the populi will, in the end, be pegged to fill the bill (so to speak).
The alternative, if it passes, will be a 1% sales tax increase. That means my next car for which I might lay out $25,000 clams will cost me $27,000 rather than $26,750. Considering I drive less than 5,000 miles per year and keep my cars forever, for the first three years at least, that works out to under $5.40 per year!
At that rate, I may as well go to the polls and vote yes. . . . But wait, there’s more! The 1% sales tax increase affects everything, not just cars! What about food, drinks, theater tickets, clothes, medicine, dog grooming and toilet paper?
Shoot, maybe I’d better vote no.
Then again, they say it’s only for ten years. Well, if that’s the case, maybe it’s an okay deal after all.
But . . . hold on. Isn’t that what they said about the tolls on 400 and the NYS Thruway — umpteen years ago?
I don’t know what to do.
Copyright©2012 by Robert A. Mills, all rights reserved