To the editor:
Gordon L. Crabtree, director of finance for the state of Utah, has recently sent a letter to newspapers in the state criticizing me for not identifying where cuts should made if the tax initiatives are passed in the November election.Mr. Crabtree shares with Gov. Bangerter a strange view of how government is supposed to work.
They seem to think that whenever taxes are to be raised, they know just how to do it and the people don't need to be consulted. But when taxes are to be cut, the people have a responsibility to tell them where the cuts are to be made.
The fact of the matter is, the voters of the state elect officials to run the government. We pay them what some would consider to be outrageous salaries and we expect them to do their jobs.
If the tax initiatives pass and 6 percent needs to be cut from state and local revenues, we expect our high-paid officials to do the job. If they can't - as apparently Mr. Crabtree can't - then we need to elect and appoint some who can.
Mr. Crabtree is dead certain about how much will be cut from tax revenues if the initiatives pass. Of course, he uses figures compiled by those who calculated the 1987 tax increase at $157 million dollars. That same tax increase is now approaching $310 million dollars.
Mr. Crabtree also quotes other figures designed, no doubt, to add authority to his argument. He states the combined budgets of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Community Development total $54 million. The 1987-88 appropriations report from the office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst says the combined budgets are $176.7 million. Crabtree says the Public Education budget is $692 million, the report says $1 billion. He says higher education is $260 million, the report says $337 million. He says Social Services is $101 million, the report says $268 million.
I am sure that Mr Crabtree is a dedicated public servant, but as director of finance, his use of figures gives new meaning to the old saying, "Close enough for government work."
Tax Limitation Coalition of Utah