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GUEST COLUMN: In the big picture, what is a dollar?

Greyson Oswalt-Smith, guest columnist

Greyson Oswalt-Smith is a guest columnist for Rome News-Tribune

My home deserves the best. My fellow residents deserve the best. The growth and renovation of Floyd County is what is best for us. Georgia has a four percent sales tax, Floyd County collects a two percent sales tax. What is one more percent? A temporary and minuscule tax that, collectively, will bring about great benefits to Floyd County and her residents. This is no growth of government, this is an increase in your fellow resident’s quality of life. If I had the opportunity to pay an extra dollar while I shop, then I would gladly pay to benefit my home. More business opportunities, better economic efficiency, and giving back to our public safety officers are the goals of the SPLOST which is up for renewal on Nov. 7.

It is important that we ignore the arguments of the nay-sayers. They preach that this is an exercise of expanding government and that our leadership uses the funds for useless projects. I believe a proper response to these claims is in order. Friends, there is an appointment of a special council that deliberates and negotiates on what projects are approved and their appropriate funding. Approach these individuals and argue your case. Go before the Commission and ask to be put on the council. Friends, be active and bring the change you want to see in our home.

Also, it is important to know that specialists come and advise the council and the Commission on what is a pressing matter for the county and what can wait. These officials are privy to information that we don’t have right off hand. It is possible to retrieve this information through inquiry, maybe then one may realize there are issues that are either pressing or there are opportunities we must take advantage of so that our home is the economic powerhouse rather than our neighbors. Also, if the government wanted to expand, they would not allow a local tax, they would allow an increase in the Georgia sales tax. Would one who is decorating their own home be a despot? I think not.

Now that the response to negativity is established, let’s discuss the benefits that a renewal of the SPLOST can bring to our home of seven rivers and seven hills. Business opportunities are going to open up in response to the renewal of a SPLOST. With our SPLOST, we continue to build more services that will continue to benefit the community. An animal shelter, the largest tennis center in Georgia which has brought much revenue to our home, and soon an agricultural center. With public services that brings the population up, businesses will gravitate towards us. A high quality of life and ample population brings business. Individuals who come to our home will need jobs and businesses will need a group of happy, non-disgruntled workers. Small businesses and entrepreneurship will rise with the increasing innovation. Recent business development in the past few years is a physical testament to my espousement. Continue the SPLOST and continue the development.

Economic efficiency should come next to meet the concerns of those that have the environment first and foremost in mind. Friends, I am most concerned with keeping our seven hills and rivers as beautiful as they were when we first founded our home. Business innovation and environmental protection are not inversely proportional. New vehicles are mandated to exhume less pollution than older models. If we use our SPLOST dollars to purchase up-to-date vehicles, we are significantly lessening the air pollution we produce. With new roads, we burn less ethanol in our vehicles as well, reducing our carbon footprint.

Which leads me to discuss the importance of the agricultural center that is on the agenda to be built. With globalization growing in the recent couple of decades, many people in the United States eat food that is collected by unfairly paid labor. Also, it produces an unacceptable amount of pollution from the transportation effort it takes to ship the food to the local supermarket. In eating locally grown foods, we are not only supporting the farmers of our region, but are standing in solidarity against disdainful wages and unnecessary pollution. One may say that the impact we make in this endeavor is too little to make an impact. To that I postulate that one penny for a dollar purchase is not significant, however, collectively, throughout our home, it can make an impact. Once we start doing our part, we must spread our message, but that is another fight. I digress.

Needless to say, our public safety officers who work day and night, risking their lives for our good night’s sleep, are of the most deserving of brand new equipment that will improve their safety and efficiency. I don’t understand why those who wish for the SPLOST to not be renewed could deny our safety officers the updates they need to stay safe and be more efficient in their duties. We should not deny them this small token of appreciation for their service. With the dangers that are present in our world today from active shooters to bomb threats, we need our safety officers to be equipped, trained and protected in the most effective way possible. This is the avenue in which we can ensure this can happen.

My fellow residents, on a shopping trip of one hundred dollars, one dollar would go to our home for improvements. If the continuation of the SPLOST were to be denied, you would have your dollar back in your pocket, but what could you purchase with that one dollar? Answer my question, which do you prefer: better gas mileage and less wear on your tires, or the dollar? More effective and protected officers or your dollar? Helping your local farmer make a living or a dollar? My friends, I believe the choice is abundantly clear. Vote to continue the SPLOST on Nov. 7.

Greyson Oswalt-Smith is a political science major at Kennesaw State University who plans on going to law school. He enjoys being politically involved locally, and serves on the Sara Hightower Board of Trustees. He may be reached at