In our free market society, government is financed through some form of taxation. Traditionally, local governments rely on taxation of property, while the state and federal governments tax commerce and income. But as systems evolve, complex schemes of taxation become the rule. In Georgia, local governments [cities and counties] have relied traditionally on property taxes.
However, since 1975, Georgia Counties may levy a Local Option Sales Tax (L.O.S.T.) if approved by the voters. L.O.S.T. is a 1% sales tax on all goods sold in the county added to the State of Georgia sales tax.
Pickens County, like 92% of the counties in Georgia, has levied this tax. L.O.S.T. does not necessarily increase the revenue as there is a mandatory rollback to reduce the property tax millage rates. The local option sales tax shifts some of the tax burden from property owners to the purchasers of goods.
Counties may also elect to levy an additional 1% Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (S.P.L.O.S.T.) for specific projects if approved by the voters. Pickens County currently has a S.P.L.O.S.T. tax with the revenue allocated to projects in the following areas:
- Fire Department Equipment, Truck and Facilities
- A new Pickens County Adult Detention
- Road Improvements
- Extension of the Water Lines
- E-911 Information System
- EMS Ambulance, Equipment and Facilities
- Courthouse Renovation
- Administrative Center (Debt Paid in Full)
- Adult Detention Center (Debt Paid in Full)
- Parks and Recreation Facilities
- Public Safety Equipment
- Water Facilities and Improvement
- Road Improvement
- Municipality Projects
Property taxes provide the major source of income for the county government (43%) – see “How are your property taxes determined?” on the Tax Assessor’s page for a breakdown of the Property Tax sources.