To the editor:
I was upset at DeeEl Stapley's claim in the Sept. 24 Forum that I had admitted a $100 million mistake in projected tax savings from passage of Proposition A, the property tax limitation initiative.I was interested to note that Mr. Stapley did not give his title. Was he concerned that his position as superintendent of Iron County schools would reveal his bias?
There was a mistake, but it was on the part of the Utah State Tax Commission, which has estimated the tax cut to be $184 million. In their estimate, the Tax Commission admits that they have not identified all debt payments of local government which are exempt from the limitation.
Now, the Office of Legislative Fiscal Analyst, another state agency, estimates the cuts to be only $110 million. The fiscal analyst undertook the painstaking process of examining nearly every local government in the state to arrive at a fairly complete figure of debt payments.
The Tax Commission's $74 million mistake was due to its thumbnail estimate of debt payments. The fiscal analyst's office acknowledges there may be even more exemptions that have not been accounted for. This would bring their estimate closer to our figure of only $80 million in cuts.
Utah property taxes total $724 million. An $80 million reduction would amount to a cut of only 11 percent. When all state and local budgets are considered, Utah's cut from Initiative "A" amounts to only 1.5 percent of $5.5 billion in total state and local spending.
Utah Taxpayers Association