Groups backing continuation of the taxes say that about a third of those tax collections will come from people who live outside Troup County. Opponents – and perhaps some supporters – of the taxes ask where that percentage comes from.
It’s based on what is called the retail pull factor. Simply put, it’s a way of measuring the economic strength of an area by comparing the amount of money residents spend to the amount of money nonresidents spend in the area.
The Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia conducted a study a few years ago. It shows Troup County with a pull factor of 1.30, with the 0.30 representing the extra sales tax collected from noncounty residents.
Why does Troup County have a positive pull factor?
There are several reasons.
n All three cities in Troup County have exits on Interstate 85, one of Georgia’s busiest highways, meaning motorists may stop for gas and food, or perhaps stay longer.
n Troup County has a dozen or so hotels, mostly near I-85, that draw visitors for overnight stays or for several days.
n We sometimes forget the tourist attractions in our midst such as Hills and Dales Estate, the Explorations in Antiquity Center, Bellevue and other spots popular with out-of-town guests.
n There are multiple festivals, cultural activities and events throughout the year. One has only to pass Lafayette Square on any given weekend for evidence that they attract both local and nonlocal residents.
n West Point Lake is a big draw. Just count the out-of-county tags on the fishing boat trailers each weekend. And the lake is a popular spot for other water-lovers year-round.
n There are numerous sporting and recreation events that attract visitors – from high school and LaGrange College football games, to youth baseball and softball tournament and others.
n And our county’s shopping and dining facilities attract customers from neighboring areas.
Add them all up and these attributes contribute to the county’s positive sales tax pull factor. In fact, Troup County’s pull factor has been in the top 32 of Georgia’s 159 counties since 2000.
No matter which side of the SPLOST fence you’re on, nonresidents of Troup County would contribute a significant portion of the revenue.