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DAVIS CITIES WILL EDUCATE RESIDENTS ABOUT IMPACT OF FOOD-TAX REMOVAL

The Davis Council of Governments has taken no formal stand on the November initiative to remove the state sales tax on food, but the city officials have agreed they need to educate their residents on possible effects of the removal.

Some cities, especially smaller ones with only one or two major grocery stores in town, derive up to half or more of their general-fund revenue from sales tax and would be crippled by the revenue cut, COG members said.Centerville Mayor Michael Kjar said a study done by the state Tax Commission shows his city would be the second hardest hit in the state, behind Moab, if the sales tax on food is lifted. Centerville estimates it will receive $675,000 in sales tax revenue in the upcoming fiscal year, compared with $486,000 in property tax.

Sunset Mayor Norman Sant said the removal would be disastrous for his city.

Fruit Heights Mayor Blaine Nelson, however, said he has some con-flicting thoughts on the issue. There are moral implications to putting a tax on a necessity of life, Nelson said, adding that the repeal would aid poor families and the elderly on fixed incomes.

The mayors also agreed the issue appears attractive to voters, who see it as a "quick fix," a way to reduce their tax load.

"But what we have to do is educate them to the fact that if the sales tax is removed from food, that revenue will have to made up somewhere, at least in the cities," said Syracuse Mayor DeLore Thurgood.