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Monday, February 4, 2008

We pay the MOST tax(es?)

Atlanta voters will find on tomorrow's ballot more than simply a choice between Hillary and Obama, or McCain and Romney, etc. It hasn't been as widely publicized as one might expect, but the municipal option sales tax (aka MOST) is up for renewal – and Shirley & Co. are banking that you vote yes.

Here's the ballot question:

Shall a special 1 percent sales and use tax be reimposed in the City of Atlanta for a period of time not to exceed 16 calendar quarters and for the raising of not more than $750,000,000 for the purpose of funding water and sewer projects and costs?

If the measure is approved on Super Tuesday, the local sales tax inside Atlanta will remain at 8 percent and the city will use the money to continue its ongoing sewer rehab. If the measure is rejected ... well, we don't know what happens then. Obviously, the city would have to scramble to find other sources of funding – a tall order at a time when revenue is falling and the mayor has projected a $70 million budget shortfall.

BTW: You'd think that because Georgia ballots are no longer printed, county election officers could change the selections in a timely manner to reflect only those candidates still left in the running. And you'd be wrong. Democrats will have the option of casting a meaningless vote in favor of John Edwards – or even Chris Dodd, if that's what floats your boat. GOPers, you can likewise squander your franchise on Rudy or Fred Thompson.

Speaking of voting, tomorrow makes the first time many of us will need to show serious ID at our polling place. Here are your choices: driver's license, passport or virtually any kind of government-issued photo ID.

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