To the editor:
I have listened carefully over the past months to the cry for lower taxes. I can agree to lower taxes when the program that taxes support are not wanted by taxpayers. What programs are not wanted? Why don't I hear a cry for cuts in specific programs?The other day Greg Beesley (hairman Utah Tax Limitation Coalition) explained that he did not have time to identify which programs to cut. I later heard Merrill Cook (andidate for governor) say "consolidate the natural resources, agriculture and community development departments and save a lot of money." (otal state budget for these agencies, $54 million).
If the tax reduction act passes in November, the state taxes will be cut $169 million and local taxes will drop $177 million. The big question is which program will we cut?
Forty-million dollars of the program cuts will come from highway projects because the fuel tax will be cut.
Where will the rest of the $129 million in cuts occur? I say it is a copout to say "I don't have the time to identify where to make the cuts." Certainly "consolidating" the three departments as mentioned by Merrill Cook won't be enough. Therefore, what can we cut?
Anyone who is serious about cutting taxes should be willing to earmark when the specific cuts in programs will be made. Every budget in state government is public information and you can isolate 90 percent of the budget by focusing on only six areas; public education $692 million; higher education $260 million; capital projects/debt service $102 million; social services $101 million; corrections $69 million; and health $68 million.
Now if Greg or Merrill or anyone else will take a few hours to look at the public record for these six areas they should be able to tell us where the remaining $129 million in cuts ought to be made. Only when we know where the cuts will be made can we argue the pros and cons of the "Peoples Tax Reduction Act" or any other tax cut proposal.
Gordon L. Crabtree, C.P.A.
State of Utah
Director of Finance