The three initiatives that will be on the November ballot will be reviewed Sept. 20 by the Utah Economic Development board at 8 a.m. in Room 6219 of the State Office Building.
The board may decide at that time whether to support or oppose the spending limitation proposal, the tax rollback proposal or the effort to get tax credits for people sending their children to private schools.
Six of the 15 board members met Tuesday during a special meeting to listen to proponents and opponents of the initiatives in an effort to learn how the proposals will affect state government and their job -- doling out money to help economic development.
Max A. Farbman, board chairman, said the Sept. 20 meeting will be a chance for further discussion on the issues and promised the item will be first on the agenda.
Those speaking in favor of the initiatives said if taxes are cut or limited, economic prosperity will follow. Opponents of the measures countered that the initiatives go too far in reducing money available to operate government and that there is no proof that Utah's economy will improve if taxes are cut or limited.
Michael Leavitt, president and chief executive officer of the Leavitt Group, said he didn't go to the meeting to defend government, but that Gov. Norm Bangerter has decreased the number of stateworkers 2.1 percent in the past three years.
Leavitt said if the initiatives pass, the school district where his childrenattend school would have to close nine of 27 schools and the district would lose46 percent of its budget. He said people shouldn't compare Utah with California where Proposition 13 passed a few years ago because at that time California had a budget surplus.
Greg Beesley, coordinator of the Tax Limitation Coalition, said he objected to being called "tax protestors," preferring "tax reformers." He said there is waste in government, and without the initiatives the waste wil l continue.
Beesley said the size of government has grown too fast in relation to the increase in population and per capita income. He cited a recent sutdy of several state agencies, including the University of Utah, that outlined $40 million in waste.
Jan Furner, Utah League of Cities and Towns executive director, said the initiative proponents are sincere, but that they don't realize the hidden impact their efforts will have. He said cities need money to maintain the infrastructure (sewers, roads, water systems. etc.) and will be hard pressed to make up a $24 million loss caused by passage of the initiatives.
Howard Stephenson of the Utah Taxpayers Association, said his group favors passage of only Intiative A, the tax and spending limitation amendment. he said state and local government spending increased 196 percent in the last 10 years, and udtah has the highest taxes on items that affect households in the 10 Western states.
State Tax Commissioner Roger Tew said it is interesting that last January, Jack Olson, executive director of the Utah Taxpayers Association, praised the governor for having a lean budget, but seven months later is criticising Bangerter for the size of government.
Tew said that $184 million cut from property taxes would be 25 percent of the total and would be devastating for government to handle.
Thayne Robson, director of the U. of U. Bureau of Business and Economic Reasearch, said prosperity doesn't necessarily follow tax cuts; Utah does have efficient government because the number of state employees is the lowest per capita in the country, and the loss of revenue will be made up elsewhere, possibly by corporate franchise taxes.
Board member and developer John Price said he recently had to pay $400,000 in attorney fees to fight the assessment of some property. He said he contnually kept getting "footballed' between state and county government by people he called imcompetent. He said tax assessment methods should be improved.