After listening to a debate on the issue, members of the Valley West Chamber of Commerce were split on whether to remove the initiative to do away with the sales tax on food.

Twenty-eight members of the business organization said Wednesday they oppose the initiative that will appear on the November ballot. Twenty said they are for the initiative.They along with about 20 Salt Lake Community College instructors sat through a noontime debate on the campus between Gov. Norm Bangerter's chief of staff, Bud Scruggs, and the chief supporter of the initiative, Independent Party Chairman Merrill Cook.

Cook told the audience that government spending has exploded during the past decade with the per-capita state and local tax burden jumping from $900 in 1981 to $1,600 last year.

But Scruggs said there are better uses for the estimated $110 million it would cost to remove the sales tax from food.