David Austin, seeking re-election as chairman of the Paulding County Board of Commissioners, said he supported the transportation referendum, or T-SPLOST, and would vote for it himself.
According to the moderator, Terry Lawler, if passed, the referendum will bring an expected $32.1 million in transportation funding to Paulding County. It would fund 13 projects including widening of Macland Road and improvements along Georgia Highway 61.
“It’s about commutes, quality of life and safety,” said Austin. “I will vote for this. I think it’s more fair than a property tax.”
Austin’s opponent Tony Crowe was unable to attend the debate.
State Senate District 31 candidate Bill Carruth, a former county commission chairman, said he did not support the transportation referendum.
“I think the project list comes up short,” said Carruth. “We don’t get dollar for dollar return on our money. I think there’s better solutions.”
Incumbent District 31 state Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, said he was opposed to the referendum, as well as the other candidate in the race, Jason “J.K.” Rogers.
“I want to be for it, but I just can’t,” Rogers said.
In terms of taxes, some candidates called for the elimination of Georgia’s state income tax, following in the footsteps of neighboring Florida and Tennessee which do not impose statewide income taxes.
Carruth, District 66 state House candidate Bob Snelling, and incumbent District 19 state Rep. Paulette Rakestraw Braddock, R-Hiram, the incumbent candidate for District 19 House of Representatives, each stated they were for phasing out the tax.
Braddock said she was a proponent of replacing the state income tax with a consumption tax, which would be a sales tax in addition to current sales taxes.