Election roundup: SPLOSTs and Sunday sales pass all over; ‘personhood’ loses in Miss. (Updated)
A smorgasbord of election-related items:
- The extension of the SPLOST in Atlanta makes one wonder if any of these special sales taxes will ever go away. Here was a city whose schools were wracked by a massive cheating scandal by adults (and while the superintendent and many other administrators may have changed, eight of the nine board members who didn’t cheat, but also didn’t catch it, remain in place). Its mayor didn’t exactly campaign against it, but he did voice his opinion that the levy should expire to make way next year for a 1 percent sales tax for transportation. Notwithstanding some yard signs here and there, pro-tax supporters were also largely invisible. Yet the measure passed, 64 percent to 36 percent. No wonder politicians like this method of letting citizens tax themselves: The politicians still get to spend the dough, while washing their hands of the responsibility for raising taxes. Prediction: At least one of the jurisdictions where the SPLOST was extended will follow Cobb County’s lead and raise property taxes next year anyway.
- A Champagne cork, opened a certain way, will go flying out of the bottle and make a loud popping sound as the pressure holding it in place is relieved. That “pop” you heard last night, most anywhere in metro Atlanta, was the sound of pent-up public demand for Sunday retail sales of alcohol being released. The AJC reported 33 jurisdictions as of 7:30 this morning where Sunday sales votes had been tallied. It passed in 32 of them, and garnered at least 60 percent of the vote in 31 of those 32. UPDATED at 4:35 p.m.: The measure actually passed in Forest Park; a voting machine malfunction caused the erroneous earlier report that it had failed. The latest tally is that the measure went 44-for-44 in metro Atlanta, garnering at least 60 percent of the vote in 42 of those 44 jurisdictions. State-wide, Sunday sales measures passed at an 82 percent clip.
- From other states: I normally don’t go for the job-pilfering in which states offer incentives to companies to move their operations, in the name of job “creation.” But if I were the head of a chamber of commerce or state agency charged with bringing jobs to Georgia, I’d be mighty tempted this morning to splash out for some TV ads inviting Ohio-based companies to move here after that state’s voters defeated a measure to rein in public-sector unions. If those companies want to stay in Ohio, and keep paying for a bloated government payroll, that’s their prerogative. But if not…
- In the two governor’s races elsewhere, as expected, Republicans and Democrats earned a split. Kentuckians kept their Democratic incumbent, Steve Beshear. In Mississippi, Republican Phil Bryant will succeed the popular but term-limited Haley Barbour.
- Also in Mississippi, voters somewhat surprisingly rejected a so-called Personhood Amendment that would have declared a fertilized egg to be a human, with all attendant legal rights. It follows a defeat last year on a similar measure in Colorado. Personhood is part of the anti-abortion movement’s attempt to move the goal posts before it has even scored a major success in its previous goals. So, maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised they came up empty last night in Mississippi.
– By Kyle Wingfield
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