Salt Lake County commissioners worry their doorsteps will be crowded daily with anxious administrators and residents if the commission says anything about what programs a successful tax-limitation effort would destroy.
But if commissioners remain quiet, they also worry, voters may not understand the seriousness of a tax rollback when they vote in November."People have to know that services will be cut," Commissioner Dave Watson said Friday. "This is not a scare tactic. People will have to accept a drastic cut in the services they've come to demand."
The Utah State Tax Commission estimates the county would lose $29.7 million in property tax revenue should the anti-tax drive succeed. Commissioner Mike Stewart questioned the figure, saying the county would likely lose about $40 million.
Rollback supporters are circulating petitions to put a tax-limiting measure on statewide ballots in November.
If commissioners do nothing more than talk about how much money would be lost, voters are likely to think the county could simply cut unnecessary expenses, commissioners said.
Instead, they said, the loss would devastate programs the public depends on, such as police and fire services, libraries and programs for the poor.
"People need to at least have a feel for the impact," said Commission Chairman Bart Barker. "But we don't want to get specific right now and say `this is what we will cut.' "
If the petition succeeds, commissioners will have to make the cuts during their yearly budget session in December.