County officials cannot and should not campaign for SPLOST using their office or any taxpayer funds.
Of course, that does not mean they won’t.
The $272 million Special Local Option Sales Tax referendum is up to the voters.
Government resources cannot be legally used to campaign in favor of or in opposition to the new tax.
In a news release this week, the county government said, “As a citizen of Clayton County, it is important for you to remain informed and truly understand how we put your pennies to work.
“Stay connected and learn more about how your pennies have contributed to successful projects throughout our county. Join us for our upcoming SPLOST Panels to learn more about the projects that are on the 2015 SPLOST ballot. “
Of course, there will be a strong temptation on the part of elected officials who personally support the SPLOST to openly and actively campaign for its passage.
They should respect the intelligence of the voters of Clayton County and realize it is their decision to make.
It many ways, it appears now this SPLOST referendum will be a referendum on the future of Southern Regional Medical Center.
With an appreciable portion of SPLOST proceeds earmarked for the hospital, voters who vote in favor of the referendum will also be voicing their support for Southern Regional.
Hospital officials and supporters are well within their rights to campaign long and hard for the hospital’s future and we suspect they will.
In fact, hospital officials are in a better position than anyone to make the case and to eplain their plans for the future.
Residents can become more informed voters by attended public meetings set for Tuesday, March 18 and Tuesday, April 15, 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. at the Clayton County Board of Commissioners Office located at 112 Smith Street in Jonesboro, prior to the BOC meeting.
All the meetings are open to the public.
— Editor Jim Zachary