Lobbyists for Utah's 29 counties will pursue a range of objectives, including expanded taxing authority and more highway money, when the 1990 Legislature convenes in January.
The Utah Association of Counties adopted nearly 50 resolutions charting legislative priorities during its recent 67th annual convention here.Among other things, counties will seek the power to impose new taxes and give sales tax breaks for economic programs that don't carry state funding.
In addition, the counties would like some $25 million in increased appropriations, most for expansion of Salt Lake City's Salt Palace convention center and social services and health programs.
After a number of political turnovers in the Nov. 6 general election, the association is going to have to spend a lot of time working with new officeholders, said newly elected UAC President Karen Truman.
Truman, the Emery County auditor, blamed an anti-incumbent mood for the ousters.
But Mark Walsh, UAC associate director, said the association hasn't changed course and will continue to push for legal authority to tap new county revenue sources.
The UAC maintains that the counties' dependence on unpopular property taxes has jeopardized their ability to provide essential services, and they need more options such as those enjoyed by cities.
Specifically, the organization wants lawmakers to let them impose a 6 percent utility franchise tax in unincorporated areas and raise business license taxes to generate revenue.
In addition, counties are asking for a 40 percent share of federal highway funds, instead of the 25 percent cut they now receive.
At the same time, counties are calling on the state to recognize its financial responsibility for mandated programs. UAC resolutions seek full payment for state prisoner expenses in county jails and additional funds to pay for health, mental health, social services and environmental services delivered at the county level.