Jay Evensen: Don't mess with a great Utah property tax law

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  • Lifelong Republican Orem, UT
    March 7, 2014 4:31 a.m.

    Sen. Osmond's bill is exactly what the state needs. Unfortunately we once again see Howard Stephenson hijacking his bill to get his way. Sen. Osmond had to concede and give up the money for 4 years or face the fact that his really good bill won't get the votes necessary to pass.

    It is the pathetic politics like this that have kept Utah in the basement of education spending for too many years now.

    By the way, most of the teachers I have talked to want nothing to do with the whole iPad fiasco that is brewing.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2014 10:57 a.m.

    More funding for education is a good thing, as a general rule; and while I have some issues with the particulars of Speaker Lockhart's proposal, I don't have a problem with a floor on school district property tax rates as a mechanism for increased education funding.

    Mr. Evensen does a good job of explaining the how property tax rates work (in general terms, when the value of your house rises, the tax rate you pay declines, and vice versa). This leads to a very stable revenue source for local government entities (cities, counties, school districts, and special service districts), but Jay fails to tell the whole story. Property tax revenues don't capture inflation, so they are effectively capped at the level they were at when the last property tax increase occurred for the entity. Meanwhile, operating costs for the government entity increase with inflation. So, with regard to property tax-funded services over time, the options are to raise taxes periodically to maintain the services at a specified level, or to either reduce service levels or eliminate certain services altogether each year (until the next tax increase) to offset the effect of inflation.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    March 6, 2014 10:56 a.m.

    Be very careful, Utah. California has "floor" tax standards "for the kids/schools" -- along with a lottery that bears the same justification.
    The actual practice has become a bean counter's shell game, with the supposed school money being "borrowed" for other purposes -- and school administrators going nuts because they never really know how much they will receive.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2014 8:50 a.m.

    What bothers me is that I get the idea sometimes, that people want to do away with the pencil and paper. And, when added large sums of money are proposed,these people get grandiose ideas about spending it on an unwise proliferation of technological goodies. I'm all for the use of technology (computers) where several students share. This is supplemental and an addition to the learning process. But, no computer can give you the flexibility of a pencil and paper right now when you need to sketch, doodle and/or write down various and sundry symbols; something to capture a thought. Technology is wonderful, but in the formative years during elementary and even most of secondary schooling, developing the mark-one and only brain is essential.IMHO.