Beware the hidden head tax. Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake, has sponsored a virtual head tax on Utah parents in order to raise money for our schools. It is part of HB55, "Amendments Related to Education Funding." The problem is that as time passes it hits families raising children with proportionately higher taxes than the rest of us. The proposal locks Utah's personal exemption at $2,850, the same as under current Utah law. (Our current code uses 75 percent of the federal exemption.) Next year the federal exemption will go up, but under this law our state exemption would stay locked at $2,850.

Seductive, isn't it? Every year less money is protected from taxation. Every year more money goes to the schools. Some next year, then more and more each following year. But proportionately more and more will come from parents. Single with no kids? A little more. Family? Even more. The more kids the more the increase. Care for disabled parents? Yes, yet more. Briscoe is clever. But does Utah really want this virtual, creeping head tax?

John C. Clark