Utah's state and local revenue effort in 1986 was 8.1 percent higher than the national average and 14.8 percent higher than the average of the eight Mountain States, according to a Utah Foundation report.
The private tax research organization study measures revenue collections against a state's revenue-raising potential.Foundation analysts used a system developed by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, which it says provides a more accurate guide to fiscal capacity than other indicators. In part, it measures a state's ability to pass part of the tax burden to individuals and businesses outside the state and allows interstate comparisons of the individual revenue sources.
The Utah Foundation study shows that Utah's ability to raise revenue was 20.7 percent below the U.S. average and 22.7 percent less than the average of the eight Mountain States. The problem is compounded because a higher proportion of Utah's population is enrolled in public schools than any other state. While demand for government services is high, the potential revenue base is low.
Because Utah's revenue-raising potential is so far below national and regional averages, the state has had to increase taxing efforts to support government services. That's why Utah's overall effort was significantly above both the national and regional averages.
The study also found:
- Utah's use of sales tax was 40.5 percent higher than the U.S. average and 30.3 percent higher than the Mountain States' average.
- The individual income tax effort in Utah was 39.5 percent higher than the national and 74 percent higher than the regional average (Wyoming and Nevada, included in those figures, don't have individual income tax).
- Utah's property tax was 10.2 percent below national averages, but 7.4 percent higher than the regional average.
- Utah's use of non-tax revenues (user charges, fees, rents, royalties and mineral leases) was about 13.7 percent above the U.S. average and 8.5 percent greater than the regional average.