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Byrne: 'Hell No' to Raising Taxes

The former Cobb commission chairman and challenger vowed at Tuesday's candidates forum never to be like "a damn Democrat” to expand Cobb government services.

The controversial TSPLOST took center stage during Tuesday night’s Cobb County Commissioner Chairman forum.

All three challengers opposed the special purpose local option sales tax aimed at funding transportation projects in metro Atlanta.

“I’m running to do everything I can to defeat TSPLOST,” said Bill Byrne to applause from the audience.

Mike Boyce cited the TSPLOST as one of the four taxes imposed over the last 19 months by the current commissioners.

“I’m running to bring conservative government to Cobb County,” Boyce said. “Four new taxes in 19 months, that’s not a Republican. That’s not conservative.”

Incumbent Tim Lee listed off the numerous accomplishments during his tenure as the current chairman.

“Cobb County has the lowest property tax in Metro Atlanta, the smallest operating budget in Metro Atlanta,” Lee said. “Cobb County has one of the lowest sales tax rates in Metro Atlanta.”

The TSPLOST came up during several questions, including talk of a light rail for the county, an idea that was shot down by the challengers.

“Would you give someone $698 million when you don’t know what they are going to do with it?” Boyce asked. “Even worse, giving it to the government? We voted no to bring it in back when the analysis was done. How many times do we have to tell the government Cobb County does not want a rail?”

When Byrne was asked about initiating new services or expanding current ones, his answer was simple.

“In the middle of a recession and you want to raise taxes like a damn Democrat?” he said. “My answer is no, no, and if you didn’t understand that, then hell no.”

Larry Savage agreed that the county couldn’t afforded new programs in the current economic climate.

“I can’t think of anything to add,” Savage said. “There’s enough on the county’s plate right now.”

Byrne and Lee did agree on one point: the need for public safety.

“Cobb County has a wide breadth of services, but public safety is our number one priority,” Lee said.

Lee cited several instances where he and the county commissioners had worked with local law enforcement to make sure they had the proper equipment for their jobs. Byrne used his opening statements to drive home the need for well-funded police and fire departments.

“Public safety must always be our number one priority,” Byrne said. “I’m running to restore public safety as our number one priority.”

The commissioner chairman primary as well as the TSPLOST vote will be held July 31.

Brian July 16, 2012 at 09:15 AM
If you want to save money on government and transportation, attack OPERATIONAL costs, not capital costs. Capital costs are important for our infrastructure and to attract business. Instead, attack the fact that although businesses mostly use digital means to process data and have user-facing systems versus paper processes, that the government is very much still using paper processes for many things. That requires hiring of many additional employees than would be necessary if systems were more widely used. Obama put forth an executive order a while back that the government needs to be more digitized. That's what we need - so services can scale more without hiring as many people.
Lini Norway July 16, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Everyone: be glad that your government let you VOTE for something that is imortant to you and your community. More taxes or not - you people get the ability to vote for it. In my socialistic country, the government is very glad to give us more and higher taxes... fair enough if we had the chance to vote for it or had seen something of the money, but we usual don't because it's more important to give lazy people money so they can continue sitting on their butt, feel sorry for them selfs and doing nothing!!! Because of knowledge, I just want to say that more taxes and raising taxes gives the government more power to control, and that is what socialists wants... and the taxes will never decrease if it raises.
Roz July 28, 2012 at 04:03 AM
I'll take a refund of all of MY tax $ that was mis-used to CREATE the mess, please. I've voted NO to this as well...ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. And, here where I was raised, ENOUGH has been mis-used, mis-spent and mis-appropriated. Transportation, indeed.
Roz August 21, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Gus, why do you seem to target Melinda and constantly berate her posts on comments?? Everyone's circumstances are different. This will affect me tremendously as well, and, I'm sure my circumstances are different even than hers. Everyone else may not have the *cush* life that you make yourself out to have via your badgering comments. Belittling and bullying others really is so unbecoming.
Melinda Paris August 21, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Well Gus--I do have health Insurance that I DO PAY FOR AND HAVE paid for the last 20 years. So what are YOU talking about? and yes, why do you take aim at me for my opinions? So, You are the only one that can voice an opinion on this blog, is that it? I don't agree w/ you HOWEVER, you still have the right to your opinions, same as me. Its called RESPECT other's. I did read what we were getting out of the TSPLOST tax here in West Cobb. We were going to get more CCT buses to run down I-75 to downtown, so it wasn't worth it for me. No one will ever convince me to go to the polls and be excited to vote YES for another tax! If you don't agree with anyone that's fine, but don't single me out over and over. Its tiring and its over anyway, the majority didn't want the tax and they spoke in volumes by exercising their right as citizens, AND please don't make me promises about things in the future, you just never know what's to come!

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