***With the election just weeks away, it seems like everybody who has an opinion on the three tax initiatives that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot is clamoring to be heard.
Representatives of both sides will get their chance at a debate scheduled Oct. 11 in the Heritage Center in Murray. The 1 p.m. debate will pit the Tax Limitation Coalition, which circulated petitions to get the initiatives on the ballot, against Taxpayers For Utah, formed to oppose the tax-cutting measures.The public is invited to the debate, which is being sponsored by the city-operated Heritage Center. For more information, call 264-2635.
***Spotted on a truck in the parking lot of a state office building: Two bumper stickers that not-so-subtly expressed opposition to the tax initiatives.
One bumper sticker read, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." The second advised readers, "If you need a cop, call Mills Crenshaw." Both urge voting against all three initiatives.
No doubt the radio talk-show host behind the initiatives would be happy to tell callers that such talk of forced cutbacks in police protection is just a "scare tactic" from the same folks who brought you higher taxes.
An employee of the Utah State Department of Public Safety who had the anti-Crenshaw bumper sticker tucked in her desk said she had no idea who was distributing them - she said they just turned up at a meeting of government employees.
The red-and-white bumper stickers that tax-initiative opponents are hoping will be read all over are reportedly the work of the Utah Education Association.
***Educators are battling the initiatives on other fronts as well. PTA workers who support defeat of the tax initiatives have been asked by the organization's leadership to wear green ribbons as a badge of their position.
During a recent meeting of the PTA board with membership from across the state, President Darlene Gubler said, "In using green ribbons, we hope to remind the public that green can be a symbol of growth and unfolding, much as education encourages that growth and unfolding of our children. Utah has a great legacy of commitment to children through quality of education and we as PTA leaders desire that to continue."
The PTA has gone on record against the initiatives as measures that would damage the state's educational system.
Gubler challenged the leaders to return to their communities and work at educating the public to the potential adverse effects of the tax cuts that would follow passage of the initiatives.
***In Cedar City, the Southern Utah State College Alumni Council has joined the fight against the tax initiatives, unanimously voting to oppose the measures, officials said.
The 13-member council "had a number of varied reasons for its opposition," said Carol Ann Jones, president of the 12,000-member Alumni Association.
"All felt the initiatives went far beyond any reasonable approach to limiting government spending," Jones said. "Each member of the council also felt the initiatives presented a serious threat to the future of Southern Utah State College."
***And in Price, the College of Eastern Utah Institutional Council also voted unanimously to oppose the tax initiatives. Council members expressed concern about the effect of the estimated $625,000 that would have to be cut from the college's budget if the initiatives are approved.
"The most tragic consequence will be denial of a college education to many of our citizens, and higher costs and more time spent in completing college for those who are enrolled," the council was told by CEU President Michael A. Petersen before their vote.
Among the ways of coping with the reduction that have been proposed are turning away as many as 190 full-time students, raising tuition by as much as 30 percent, eliminating courses and eliminating both courses and personnel.