Delay coming for regional transportation sales tax vote?


Map-making won’t be the only chore taken up by the Georgia Legislature during its special session starting Monday.

Gov. Nathan Deal also wants the legislature to consider moving the date of the referendum on a regional transportation sales tax vote. The legislation adopted earlier this year scheduled that vote for July 31, 2012, but Deal wants to push it to the November general election, a spokesman for his office has confirmed.

There has been some contention that the sales tax has a better chance of passing regionwide in November with the presidential election on the line, in theory driving more Democratic voters to the polls in support of a second term for President Barack Obama when compared with a potentially lower Democratic turnout in the July primary.

However, there is also a chance that anti-tax supporters such as those in the growing Tea Party will provide plenty of votes against the regional transportation sales tax in November.

Fayette is part of the 10-county metro Atlanta region for purposes of the sales tax initiative. The way the legislation was structured, Fayette cannot opt out of the tax, meaning that if the 1 percent sales tax is approved by an aggregate of voters regionwide, it will be enacted here even if it fails to get a 50 percent or greater approval from Fayette County voters.

The tax, if approved, would be collected for 10 years.

The chief reason for the special session is for the creation of new district lines for the legislative districts, along with those used for U.S. congressional seats. That process will be undertaken based on the latest figures from the 2010 U.S. Census.