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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Who wants a big, fat tax cut?

Thoughtful and thought-provoking commentary in today's UPD:

Publisher’s Opinion

The Legislative Dilemma: Cut Taxes or Invest in Future

Who wants a big, fat tax cut?

Not citizens, according to every poll done on the subject. Not Republicans, according to those same polls.

Not the editorial boards of KSL TV/Radio, the Salt Lake Tribune, Deseret Morning News, Standard-Examiner, Daily Herald, and the Spectrum in Southern Utah. The editorial boards are unanimous: spend the surplus on infrastructure and urgent needs, not on a big, fat tax cut.

Not business leaders. The Salt Lake Chamber and other Chambers, whose members include thousands of large and small businesses, are not itching for a big tax cut. They prefer to ensure a bright economic future by investing surplus dollars in transportation and economic development.

I can’t find anyone these days (except maybe that lonely voice of the Sutherland Institute) who really wants a big, fat tax cut.

A modest tax cut, yes. Something in the range of $60 million to $100 million. Fine. But smart business leaders, citizens and elected officials all over the state know that it makes no sense to cut taxes now and then have to somehow come up with billions of dollars later to cover the state’s massive infrastructure backlog. It’s pay now or pay a whole lot more later. Construction costs are dramatically escalating.

It’s not that most Utahns like government taking their money. But they fully understand the state’s needs and see the value of investing to position the state for the future and ensure a high quality of life, good education for children, and mobility for citizens and businesses. It’s a clear choice. They’d rather have the Legislature make the investments than put a few bucks back in their own pockets.

In a way, it’s a strong vote of confidence in the Legislature. We’re saying we trust you to spend our money wisely. We believe Utah’s political leaders are frugal. You are responsible. We don’t have massive unfunded pensions. The state’s bonding activity is well within reason. You balance the budget, every year. You’re not raising taxes. You’re putting most of the surplus money into true investments, not massively building base budgets or the size of government.

We love the fact that our economy is booming, producing more revenue, which allows money to be invested in transportation and economic development that will pay long-term dividends.

On a very personal basis, that’s what I prefer. I pay a lot of taxes and I hate giving so much money to the federal government, but I’m happy with the services I receive at the state and local levels for the taxes I pay.

It’s hard to imagine many people in Utah County wanting a big tax cut while the county faces a transportation system near crisis with no resolution in sight. It’s hard to imagine many people in Washington County wanting a big tax cut while facing incredible water and highway needs to serve an exploding population expected to reach 205,000 by 2015 and half a million people less than 20 years later.

My prediction: By the end of the legislative session, lawmakers will have gone through their appropriations committee hearings; they will fully understand the true needs of the state; they will see there is no great clamor for a large tax cut; and thus the tax cut will be modest, not massive. And that’s the way it should be.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the article, those not wanting tax cuts are the "smart" business leaders, citizens and elected officials, the media, and the Republicans...

I guess all of my friends and family are the "stupid" ones. For we would love to see massive tax cuts, with large scale amputations of improper functions of government!

This kind of "smart" leadership advocating bigger and more government that fuels the increasing growth of the Constitution Party in Utah.

2/09/2006 3:53 PM  
Blogger USU2A said...

"Thoughtful and thought-provoking commentary..."

More like a leftist/neo-con peice of propaganda!

Of course there are "smart" people who want tax cuts! The Sutherland Institute is not a lone voice, but is highly regarded by many smart people who cherish freedom, liberty, and families.

2/09/2006 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a republican and fiscal conservative. I want my money back.
I agree that the article was a bunch of liberal propaganda based on wishful thinking.
Smithfield, UT

2/09/2006 6:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LaVarr, you have far more confidence in our shortsighted legislators than I do. I only hope you are right.

2/11/2006 11:43 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

The first three comments on this post, while relevant, seem to be based on emotion and ideology. I would also love to see feedback from from some boring, practical soul out there who has a calculator in their hand.

See our most recent blog for some numbers to consider.

2/13/2006 11:09 AM  
Blogger USU2A said...

I would like to see feedback (and votes) from citizens and elected officials with pruning sheers in their hands.

2/13/2006 12:38 PM  

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