What is SPLOST?
SPLOST is an acronym for Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. It is an optional one percent sales tax which the State of Georgia allows counties to collect to fund certain capital outlay projects as proposed by county government and participating qualified municipal governments. SPLOST is designed to allow voters to have a voice in capital outlay projects they would like to see within their county that would otherwise be paid for with general funds and property tax revenues. SPLOST proceeds may not be used for operating expenses or maintenance of a SPLOST project or any other county or municipal facility or service.
A SPLOST is imposed after the county calls a local referendum and the referendum is subsequently passed by the voters. The SPLOST is collected from the sale of items, subject to the State of Georgia sales and use tax, within the county and can only be used for the specific capital outlay projects, as approved in the referendum by the citizens.
In addition, the SPLOST is also imposed on the sale of food and beverages, which are not subject to the state sales tax and unlike property tax, SPLOST is based on consumption and paid by all county residents and visitors alike.
Is SPLOST a new tax?
No. The SPLOST law was enacted in 1985 and was conceived as a county tax for the funding of capital projects. Clayton County has been funding capital projects from the renewal of ongoing SPLOST proceeds for long term capital improvements.
What is a Level One SPLOST Project?
Level One SPLOST projects are capital projects for the use and benefit of the citizens of the entire county required to implement state mandated county responsibilities. Georgia law specifically limits Level One projects to the following:
- A courthouse;
- An administrative facility for elected officials or constitutional officers;
- A county or regional jail, correctional institution or detention facility;
- A county health department facility; and
- Any combination of the foregoing
Who approves SPLOST?
The Clayton County voters approve SPLOST. A question to reimpose the SPLOST along with a list of capital projects is added to the ballot for voter approval.
Can the SPLOST ballot be designed so as to authorize voters to approve some, but not all, projects on the ballot?
No. Georgia law sets forth specific language that must be used in seeking approval from the voters in a SPLOST referendum. It does not authorize any alternative ballot questions or ballot form that would allow for a “pick and choose” ballot.
Will approving the SPLOST increase sales tax or property tax?
No. SPLOST will account for one percent, one penny of the existing 7% sales tax.
What is the difference between SPLOST and ESPLOST?
The SPLOST is a county sales tax that funds capital outlay projects overseen by the Clayton County Board of Commissioners and participating municipalities. The ESPLOST is a separate sales tax, also included in the existing 7% sales tax, overseen by the Clayton County Board of Education for school construction and improvement projects. ESPLOST also requires voter approval through separate referendum.
Can SPLOST funds be used for expenses or services other than those expensed for an approved SPLOST project?
No. SPLOST funds can only be used for capital outlay purposes specifically included in the ballot language and approved by the voters. Neither Clayton County Board of Commissioners or participating municipalities can add or remove projects after voter approval of the referendum.
- SPLOST projects benefit all residents of Clayton County.
- SPLOST projects are not associated with the Clayton County Board of Education or School System.
- 2015 SPLOST is not a new tax, but a continuation of an ongoing program to upgrade county and municipal facilities.
- SPLOST funds are only used for capital projects for long term benefit and use.
- SPLOST funds come largely in part from tourists, renters and non-residents who do not pay property tax while supporting the county wide efforts to maintain low property taxes.
- SPLOST funds can be used to purchase expensive capital equipment such as fire trucks which helps to lower insurance rates while providing better fire protection to our citizens and public safety personnel.
- SPLOST allows residents to have a vote in the improvements they want in their communities and county.