I’m happy to read that a local Tea Party group is speaking out against the proposed school tax hike. The voters were duped by the last SPLOST campaign and given a choice — approve the SPLOST or face a property tax increase. Overwhelmingly, voters misplaced their trust. A few, like me, have heard this tired act before and rejected the phony argument.
What irritates me about this current debate is that the local Republican Party has, once again, decided to sit this one out. The Tea Party has taken a stand. Even the local Democrats have taken a stand. Predictably, they support the tax increase. But at least they have the intestinal fortitude to put our money where their mouth is.
Chairman Underwood’s decision to avoid taking a position continues a shocking display of apathy by the local GOP. When the Board of Commissioners wanted to silence dissent by granting retribution powers to the local ethics board, the GOP was silent. When the BOC wanted to move county money to a bank featuring a prominent zoning attorney on its board who regularly argues before the commissioners, the GOP took a pass. Now, when a government entity is proposing a tax increase, they decide to not take a position.
To be fair, Chairman Underwood has taken a position on at least one local issue. He has argued passionately before the commissioners that we should adopt HUD financed housing in the south end of the county. And which party does he represent, exactly?
I would encourage the chairman to re-read the Republican platform, stand up to his well-connected friends in local public office, and do what his party members elected him to do — represent conservative principles at a local level and hold his own accountable.
As examples, I’d point him to State Reps. Mark Hamilton and Mike Dudgeon. They have modeled how to simultaneously advance conservative principles and gain the respect of colleagues and constituents.
Kudos to the Tea Party for taking a stand. Let’s hope that it stays independent of the local GOP and remains a champion for accountability.