New Chairman’s Column: The One Penny Investment in our Future

This being my first column as Chairman of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, I address an issue important to all of us – our children. Our youth will provide our future workforce, and ensuring the best education possible for our children is not only a responsibility, it is also an investment in the future of Gainesville-Hall County.

The Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) referendum on Tuesday, July 18 will provide an opportunity for the voters of Hall County to again make a difference in the community and in the lives of our children by supporting “Good Cents for Education.”

The continuation of the one-cent sales tax will build new schools, renovate old schools and retire old bond indebtedness. The new SPLOST one penny sales tax does not raise the sales tax – it just continues the present 1% (7% total) sales tax for the Education SPLOST.

Let’s continue our Gainesville-Hall County tradition of quality school facilities, with state-of-the-art technology, equipment, the best in educators and principals – ensuring the right environment for all children to learn and prepare for future jobs. Quality schools reflect our community’s desire to provide for our most valuable asset – our children.


Everyone pays a sales tax, and some 35 percent of sales taxes currently collected in Hall County are paid by non-residents. Because increase in student population and growth and new school construction (or the addition of trailers to house increased students) is inevitable, the one-penny sales tax provides an equitable, fair solution. The other alternative – an increase in property taxes.


SPLOST education one-penny sales tax has made a big impact and will pay large dividends in the future of our youth. The one-cent sales tax was approved by voters in 1997 and again in 2001. Results are making a difference.

  • The much-anticipated opening of the Lanier Career Center in 2004 was made possible with $ 4.5 in SPLOST construction initiatives.
  • Hall County School System built eight new schools and added 164 new classrooms
  • Gainesville City Schools built two new elementary schools, a new high school facility and gymnasium adding 75 new classrooms system-wide.
  • Buford added a fine arts facility, a new middle school and several school renovations.

Through the SPLOST education one-penny sales tax, more than $230 million has been invested in these three school systems.


All registered voters in Hall County and municipalities are eligible to vote Tuesday, July 18 on the SPLOST Education referendum. Early voting is available July 10 – July 14 at the Hall County Election Office. Absentee ballots are available now. You do not have to be out-of-town to qualify for early voting – the Hall County Registrar will mail you a ballot. The Hall County Election/Registrar’s office is located at 275 Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville. For voting information, contact Anne Phillips-Lea, Hall County Registrar, at 770-531-6945, or visit