Utah's two Republican senators, Jake Garn and Orrin Hatch, told reporters Friday morning they endorse Gov. Norman Bangerter's tax proposal as an acceptable alternative to the tax initiatives that will appear on November's ballot.

As recently as three weeks ago, Garn refused to comment on the initiatives, and Hatch had yet to publicly speak against them. But on Friday, both men said they felt the initiatives go too far.Garn said he would not campaign against the initiatives, but would vote against them as a private citizen.

Both men said they felt the initiatives have a chance of passing, and acknowledged that Utahns want some tax relief. They denied, however, that their endorsement of Bangerter's proposal was motivated by their wanting to help Bangerter's sagging re-election campaign.

Garn said Bangerter has been working on tax reduction ideas since last March, although he didn't explain why it took the governor seven months to unveil his plan.

"There is no question that the most important issue facing the State of Utah this year is taxes," the pair said in a prepared statement."And most people believe that the tax initiatives that will be on the ballot Nov. 8 go too far. We believe that the people of Utah need a responsible alternative to those proposals. Fortunately, Gov. Bangerter is offering that alternative."

They called Bangerter's plan "a realistic compromise" that centers around keeping government spending in line with taxpayers' ability to pay.