Politicians have told us what would happen to the Utah if the proposed tax initiatives pass. Bureaucrats have added their 2-centsworth. And we've also heard from the tax reformers.
And now you can add to that pot the opinion of the Utah Foundation - a private tax research group.Foundation researchers said approval of the three tax initiatives would translate into an average tax reduction of about $151 in income, sales and gasoline taxes for a typical Utah family of four with an annual income of $25,000. That number jumps to about $336 if the family owns a house valued at $75,000.
That news comes as a new poll released by the Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday shows the race for the initiatives in a dead heat, with previous heavy support for them apparently disappearing.
Initiative A, which would limit property taxes, has a 1 point lead, 44-43 percent with 14 percent undecided; Initiative B, which would roll back the record 1987 $166 million tax increase, trails opponents 46-45 with 9 percent undecided. And Initiative C, which would give parents with children in private schools a tax credit, is trailing 46-43 percent with 12 percent undecided.
Two weeks ago, all three initiatives had majority support.
The telephone poll of 600 registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
But foundation analysts pointed out that actual property tax savings will depend on the area - ranging from no savings in Wayne County to as much as $321 in Ogden.
"Voters casting their ballots in November will have to weigh these tax reductions against the prospect of sharply curtailed government services, along with the likelihood of added charges and fees," said the foundation's report released Monday.
The foundation said opponents of the initiatives are warning that curtailment of some government services could raise other costs for many Utah families and individuals.
Furthermore, initiative opponents caution that passage of the initiatives may increase other costs by making it more expensive for governments to borrow because it would reduce the state's financial flexibility. They cite Standard & Poor's decision to place Utah on its "credit watch" list.
The foundation also observed that families with special circumstances could receive additional tax breaks if the initiatives pass.
Families with children attending private schools would receive a tax credit of up to $722 for each child enrolled; smokers who smoke one pack of cigarettes per day would see an annual tax reduction of about $40; and purchasers of big-ticket items subject to sales tax, such as a cars or boats, would realize a tax savings equal to one-half of 1 percent of the purchase price.
The foundations stressed, however, that it takes no position for or against the initiatives.