The University of Utah Institutional Council unanimously voted to oppose passage of two tax-limitation measures Monday, saying the state's premiere research institution can't remain healthy with any more funding cuts.
At the same meeting, the U. released a 136-page report that highlights the public service, county by county, that the U. provides the state. Three particular programs were discussed.The council's opposition came as no surprise. For months President Chase N. Peterson and other U. administrators have outlined the initiatives' potentially harmful effects to the council.
Council member Emanuel A. Floor urged fellow council members to adopt the anti-initiative stance against tax-limitation measures A and B.
"We've created a situation where the university is like the person who has lost the ability to fight out a disease. We can't take a severe disease, which is what the tax initiatives are," he said.
Three initiatives will be on the Nov. 8 general ballot. One initiative, if passed, would roll back the 1987 tax increase, restoring the sales, income, gasoline and cigarette taxes to 1986 levels. The second would cap property taxes on residential property at 0.75 percent of fair market value, and other property at 1 percent of fair market value, and would limit growth in state and local governments. The third, which was not mentioned by the U. council and doesn't specifically affect higher education, would give a state income tax credit to parents whose children attend private schools.
Floor said the tax-limitation measures are poorly drafted, would be bad public policy and would do irreparable damage to Utah.
Council Chairman Robert Wright said contrary to what the U.'s critics might say, the institution couldn't easily survive the 13 percent loss in state funds, or $14.9 million, that could result from passage of the tax-limitation measures.
The U. couldn't control its losses, since another reduction in funds would push many of the institution's top-notch professors to seek greener financial pastures out of state for themselves and their programs, Wright said.
In the presentation on U. public service efforts, council members heard that the university assists countless Utah citizens, educates thousands of future professionals and saves the state millions of dollars through outreach and community service programs.
Dr. Joseph C. Veltri, Poison Control Center director, reported that the center handles 30,000 calls annually, or 108 calls daily, from Utahns across the state. Most calls involve accidental poisonings of children ages 6 months to 6 years. Seventy percent of the calls involve a potentially toxic situation, but the center helps most parents treat the children at home.
Dr. Kazunari Koike reported that faculty and students in the U. Department of Communication Disorders traveled to rural areas of the state last year, logging 30,000 miles, to screen preschoolers and senior citizens for possible speech, language and hearing problems. The experts saw 1,604 children and 339 adults.
Drs. Michael Hardman and John McDonnell of the Department of Special Education reported the Utah Community-Based Transition Project works with local school districts to help train the severely mentally retarded.
About 500 school teachers and administrators have been trained to help 250 mentally retarded individuals become taxpaying members of society, they said.