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Scandal is wild card in Atlanta SPLOST vote | News

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Scandal is wild card in Atlanta SPLOST vote

ATLANTA -- Atlanta voters will face a couple of questions in Tuesday's election. There's a special local option sales tax for Atlanta Public Schools. And there's the question of Sunday liquor sales. Although the turnout will be low, a small surge of voters is likely to vote on Sunday sales.

The question is how those folks will vote when they see the penny sales tax for Atlanta schools. They know the school system educates children and always needs money. And they know APS has been through a cheating scandal.

This is the fourth time this tax has been on the ballot. Voters have approved it the previous three times.

Brenda Muhammad, the school board chair, acknowledges that the cheating scandal may give voters second thoughts.

"I would hope that the issues would not come into play here. But you know, it's a natural kind of thing," Muhammad said. "But I hope people will see what we've been doing with the penny over the years."

Muhammad says she hopes voters will separate the misdeeds of grown folks from the needs of school children.

There is some opposition rooted in the APS scandal. Some is also rooted in what you could call taxation fatigue. The executive director of the Fulton County Taxpayers foundation says the struggling economy may impact voter attitudes.

"This is an interesting election season, just because the economy, the housing market... unemployment up, all the numbers," said Barbara Payne.  "I think they're going to be taking their woes, as they should, into the ballot box and that may affect the vote as well."

It's worth noting that Atlanta voters will also vote next March to renew a penny sales tax for water and sewer construction. And they'll be asked in July to approve a penny for transportation. If they all pass -- Atlanta will have a nine percent sales tax.