By Mandy Power, President and CEO of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce
For the Dawson County News
I have always heard the saying, growing up is hard to do. As a child, I remember thinking about how I could not wait to be an adult. But no one ever told me the dreaded truth of adulthood came with paying taxes. In a very divided world, one thing in common is we all pay taxes. Whether you are a business owner, a retiree, a young parent – everyone is taxed in one way or another. It is certainly arguable what level of taxation is appropriate and if the benefits we receive in services are equivalent to the amount we pay in, but I will leave that debate to the lawmakers.
Our community is a regional hub for retail, we draw in hundreds of thousands of visitors from many different counties, states, and yes, even countries every year. They come to visit the North Georgia Premium Outlets and contribute nearly 75 to 85 percent of our sales tax revenue, according to state reports. This translates to revenues created from the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) to provide better roads, increase our public safety, add more sidewalks, park improvements and the list goes on and on. The continuation of this tax has the ability to give residents and business owners a lot more than what we put into SPLOST.
As a taxpayer, resident and a business leader in Dawson County, I am the first to tell you I know that no one likes taxes. However, I can also tell you my children love to play in the parks, local farmers can now sell their goods in the city’s farmers market pavilion, firefighters and police are better equipped to respond and save citizens lives because they have upgraded equipment. These are all provided by SPLOST and are resources we would not be able to afford without it and, keep in mind, nearly 85 cents of every dollar are paid by someone who does not live here.
SPLOST VII is not a new tax, it is simply a continuation so that we can continue to make much-needed improvements, including a new Public Health Building, Main Street Park Phase III and IV, and much-needed upgrades for our E911.
A vote “yes” for SPLOST VII means you are not paying any more than we currently pay today but the benefits are tremendous.
I have never met anyone who enjoys paying taxes, but we certainly all enjoy the commodities available to us that are funded by these dollars.