With the election drawing closer, the number of groups going on record opposing the tax initiatives on the Nov. 8 ballot continues to grow.
Most of the opposition is to the first two initiatives on the ballot. Initiative A would limit property tax rates and government growth. Initiative B would roll back tax increases passed by the 1987 Legislature and lower income tax rates.- The Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants wants voters to know before they go to the polls that "the guy who is going to cheer the loudest if these initiatives pass is Uncle Sam."
Association President Roger B. Pinnock said that although Utahns will pay lower state taxes if the initiatives pass, they will end up paying higher federal taxes.
The reason is that paying less in state income taxes means Utahns will have less to deduct on their federal income tax returns. "The end result is an unwelcome side effect - the federal government taxes you on a larger sum," Pinnock said.
He estimated that if a Utah family were to pay $100 less in state property taxes because of the initiatives, that same family would have to pay $20 to $25 more to the federal government.
"Yes, the overall outlay would be less, but we as an association of CPAs want to point out that people won't be getting quite the deal they expected," Pinnock said.
The association proposes the formation of a bipartisan committee to identify ways to eliminate government waste, cut inappropriate and excessive taxes and improve efficiency in government.
- Utah Common Cause opposes the first two initiatives. According to a press release, the organization took that position "because the initiatives are designed specifically to slash current spending rather than to restrict uncontrolled growth in spending."
The reductions called for by the two initiatives, estimated to be as high as $326 million, "would undoubtedly cripple the ability of government to serve the people of this state."
The release went on that while the organization considers it "important for citizens to be able to express their will in an initiative vote, the consequences of these initiatives would be to restrict the ability of our officials to fulfill the responsibilities for which they were elected."
The group took no position on the third initiative. Initiative C would give parents who enroll their children in private schools a credit on their state income taxes.
- The Statewide Association of Prosecutors of Utah, in a resolution passed by its board of directors, has also come out against Initiatives A and B, citing the possibility that as many as 500 state prisoners could be released.
Other concerns cited by the non-profit group, which represents elected county attorneys, appointed city prosecutors and the attorney general, include the threat of losing 15 to 30 percent of the current funding to police and prosecution agencies.
- The Utah Economic Development Corporation is opposed to the passage of Initiatives A and B. "These initiatives simply go too far and would send the wrong message to the business world," said Rick Thrasher, the corporation's president and chief executive officer.
"We're confident that the people of Utah will defeat them when they realize that business and industry need quality public services, education and transportation in order to prosper."