The head of the California-based National Tax Limitation Committee said that the supporters of Utah's tax initiatives shouldn't be lulled by early polls into believing they'll have an easy victory.
"They don't have enough of a lead to hang on in the face of what I'm sure will be a very expensive campaign," said Lewis K. Uhler, committee president, in a telephone interview from his Sacramento, Calif., office.Uhler, the veteran of successful campaigns for tax limitation, said that the only way the initiatives can win against "the array of organizations and individuals against them" is through a strong grassroots effort.
Three initiatives will appear on the November ballot. The one Uhler said was most likely to be successful is the People's Tax and Spending Limitation, which will limit property tax rates and government growth.
The other initiatives, which Uhler said should be approved, are the People's Tax Reduction Act, which would roll back tax increases passed by the 1987 Legislature, and the Utah Family Choice in Education Act, which would give a tax credit to parents of children in private schools.
A recent Deseret News/KSL poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates showed 54 percent of those questioned favored the property tax limitation, 54 percent favored the rollback and 40 percent favored the tuition tax credit.
Squaring off against the coalition is Taxpayers For Utah, a group formed to oppose the tax initiatives, which has announced its plans to spend more than $600,000. The group includes a number of prominent Utahns such as former Gov. Scott M. Matheson, and a long list of education, business, labor and advocacy organizations.
Uhler said that the tactics he has seen Taxpayers for Utah use are no different than those tried by other tax limitation opponents.
The group has suggested that the state would be devastated if the initiatives pass, citing the cutbacks that would be necessary in education, social services and other state and local government programs.
Coalition leaders have repeatedly said that it will be the responsibility of government officials to decide what programs should be affected, a position Uhler agrees with.
"Those are the guys who know how to squeeze the excess out," Uhler said of government officials. "They know where the fat is - they put it there."