Ted Wilson goes back to teaching at the University of Utah. Merrill Cook goes back to making explosives - and maybe starting his own third political party. And Gov. Norm Bangerter goes back to being governor.

What will the next four years of the Bangerter administration bring?A tired, but happy, governor gave a reporter a look of disbelief early Wednesday morning when asked that question. "Let's win this thing, take a rest and then we'll get at it," he said.

Bangerter, 55, has several items on his plate in the next few months, however.

The most far-reaching is his promise to freeze property taxes at current levels.

The promise was called desperation tactics by Wilson, who was leading Bangerter in the polls at the time. No doubt it was brought on by an election-year need, but it now becomes the major piece of legislation that Bangerter will try to get ready for the 1989 Legislature. He has said it will be complicated and should have the support of local governments. So he may have to wait until the 1990 Legislature, a year from January. In either case, the Legislature he'll be dealing with will be much like the 1987 group _ the Republican-dominated body that approved $165 million of Bangerter's requested $220-million tax hike. The House and Senate saw few changes in Tuesday's elections.

It was that tax increase that spawned the tax protest revolt _ a revolt that ended Tuesday night in defeat both for the three tax initiatives and for their mentor _ independent gubernatorial candidate Cook.

The governor must also put the finishing touches on his recommended 1989-90 budget, which goes to lawmakers in December.

And he must put together his bonding proposal to pay for construction of the West Valley Highway, a road in western Salt Lake County that also drew fire this election year.

But it is the property tax freeze that will be his biggest battle.

The state doesn't directly use property tax. The Legislature sets the minimum school levy which, by law, must be imposed by local school districts. That money goes to the Uniform School Fund, a state fund, and is then reapportioned out to the school districts on a formula called the weighted pupil unit.

State income tax, as required by the state constitution, also goes into the Uniform School Fund. In lean times, the property tax required for the WPU and the income tax don't make up enough to fund public education, so other tax revenues have been moved from the state's General Fund to the Uniform School Fund.

What all this fund talk means is that if the property tax is frozen at current levels, it is possible that some time in the future other state programs may have to be raided to properly fund public education.

But that's down the road.

For now, Bangerter's promised property tax freeze wouldn't immediately impact state programs. It would, however, have a great effect on school districts, which require additional property tax levies in addition to those required by the Legislature; local governments whose budgets rely on the tax; and on libraries and special improvement districts whose main revenue is the tax.

Local government officials have especially been critical of Bangerter's suggestion, saying he risks little for the state while jeopardizing their revenue sources to please voters.

Bangerter, meanwhile, hopes a property tax freeze will dampen any effort by the tax protesters and Cook to recirculate tax-cutting initiative petitions.

Cook and the protesters, however, vow a renewed tax-cutting effort. Cook said he may even start a third political party, whose goals won't be just tax cuts, but a more efficient, public-oriented government as well.