Have you always dreamed of a Caribbean cruise when you came into a little money? Maybe your fantasy of frivolous spending was a shopping trip in Paris or a new yacht docked at Malibu?
Well, the first batches of "little money" began arriving this week in the form of state income tax rebates. The rebate checks average about $148, according to state officials, based on 12.5 percent of state income tax paid.But that doesn't seem to be enough to satisfy hundreds of Utahns, Tax Commission spokesman Lee Shaw said Thursday.
"We have had up to 400 telephone calls a day from taxpayers wondering why their rebate check was not larger," said Shaw.
Aside from the obvious fact that the state isn't giving back enough to finance trips around the world and African safaris, Utahns' plans to spend the money fall into two categories: undecided or mundane - with a few exceptions.
The architect of the rebate plan is one of the undecided. "I haven't made up my mind yet. But I hope I'm in the first mailing," said Gov. Norm Bangerter.
An informal Deseret News survey of many well-known Utahns and people in downtown Salt Lake City this week shows most have plans similar to Democratic candidate Ted Wilson, who is on an unpaid leave from the University of Utah Hinckley Institute of Politics while running for governor.
"I'm going to use it to pay some bills," Wilson said.
Independent gubernatorial candidate Merrill Cook also has bills in mind. "I'll probably put it into the campaign. We're doing a good job of raising money but an independent party has a more difficult time than a straight party. I'd rather have seen the money go to a permanent tax reduction."
Hair stylist Cindy Warriner will be funneling the rebate check into bill payments, too. "When you have six kids, you have a lot of doctors' bills," she said.
Steve Howard also sees the rebate as an answer to bills. With a daughter at Utah State University, bills are not uncommon in the Howard household.
Home improvements were high on the list for several. Marcel Davidson is going to turn the state's green into greenery around his yard. Corrine Rice, who didn't even know about the rebate until asked by reporters, is remodeling her condo, so the money will go for new drapes or furniture.
Murray Fire Chief Wendell Coombs also has the remodeling bug, so the Coombs' abode will benefit from the returned income tax dollars.
Karen Thueson, mother of three children, just wants a new house, so she'll put the rebate into savings for a down payment. "Based on the size of the check, I guess we'll be saving for a long time," she said.
While some are working on improving their homes, others will use the returned funds to improve relationships.
Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce President Fred S. Ball will be helping Utah's economy at the same time he's looking out for family - he'll spend the rebate checks on Christmas presents for his grandchildren.
Dr. Suzanne Dandoy, executive director of the Utah Department of Health, went to Phoenix recently to visit her son and daughter-in-law, so hers is gone before it arrives.
Bob Alleman will throw a beer party for his friends, although he hopes to save of few dollars.
Harold Solbrig, who excitedly awaits the birth of his third child, plans to use the extra money to give his wife a little something extra - a sapphire necklace. "I wanted to do something nice for her, but until now I didn't have the money."
Striking Utah Symphony musicians Ed and Holly Gornik said their check will probably pay for their son's figure skating training.
Golden Eagles General Manager Mike Runge knows how to keep on good terms with his boss - and get a free commercial to boot. "I'm going to buy season tickets to the Salt Lake Golden Eagles hockey games that begin Oct. 11 at the Salt Palace at 7 p.m."
Altruism figures in the plans of some. Cookie queen Debbi Fields is going to donate it to charity through the Mrs. Fields Children's Fund.
State Democratic Chairman Randy Horiuchi, who taught debate at Kearns High School for three years, will sign the check over to public education because he fears that debate, if the tax-limitation measures pass, will be eliminated.
Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis will send part of the rebate back to the state to add to the education and social services coffers.
Several prominent Utahns, who are also Utah State University alumni, plan to endorse their checks as "Payable to Utah State University." They are Wm. James Mortimer, Deseret News publisher; Wm. Rolfe Kerr, Utah commissioner of higher education; Bob Welti, KSL-TV weather forecaster; and Jed Pitcher, president of Blue Cross-Blue Shield.
They attended a USU press conference Tuesday, announcing their intentions and urging other Aggies to use their rebates to help boost Big Blue.
In the thinking-ahead category, Jack Olson, executive director of the Utah Taxpayers Association, and public relations executive John Becker will be using their rebates to pay federal or state taxes.
"They are going to get it one way or another," Becker said.
For ingenuity category, KALL Radio's self-proclaimed wild and crazy guy, Tom Barberi, has studiously pondered the prospects of a few extra bucks and budgeted the check's contents.
"I would naturally go out and buy some nachos," said Barberi, referring to the Utah legislator who had pooh-poohed the rebate plan because it would return so little to taxpayers that they could only afford some nachos.
"I would also give some to the Dredge-Now, Save-the-Pumps Foundation. I would also enjoy a weekend in Wendover and bring back some cheap booze. That's double dipping with the rebate because if you buy booze out of state, you don't have to pay the state's incredible markup. I'd also add some money to the campaigns of everyone who is running against David Wilkinson and then add a few dollars to the Tax Limitation Coalition, if they promise to send Mills Crenshaw out of town until after the election.
"I'd also want to buy a `Utah: A Pretty, Great State' T-shirt and send it to Grant Affleck. Finally, with what's left over, I'd put it in my local thrift and loan, if I could find one that wasn't closed," the radio pundit said.
Two Britons, vacationing in Salt Lake City while on a photographic U.S. visit, including a side trip to Yellowstone, said they'd love to be suffering with What-Shall-I-Do-With-My-Check-itis.
June and Colin M. Pinchbeck of St. Albans, England, a village about 20 miles north of London, said Britons fork over between 20 percent and 40 percent of their earnings in income taxes to the government.
To be in the highest income tax bracket, a Briton only has to earn about $34,000, Mr. Pinchbeck said. On top of that, there is a 15 percent sales tax, except for food, children's clothes and books.
"I wouldn't mind paying your taxes," Mr. Pinchbeck said.