In your lead editorial of Dec. 4, you make the point that, "A retroactive tax refund would cripple Utah budget." I find it hard to believe that your paper would come down on the side of government over that of the people.

If Utah were only interested in money, then why were the "state" retirees not taxed? Why wasn't there movement by the state to retroactively tax the state retirees? Why were the state retirees given an increase to offset the income tax bite?Now that the state retirees are contributing to the tax rolls, why couldn't the federal retirees be given tax "credits" to apply against future returns, amounting to the 1985-1988 illegal collections? Surely the increased revenue from the state retirees should more than offset such tax relief for the federal retirees.

The potential liability of $120 million would have cost the state only about $80 million had it been approved at the time of the 1989 Supreme Court decision. Interest and legal maneuverings have escalated the cost, yet you and your paper never questioned this action, either then or now.

You speak of the "rainy day fund" being depleted. What about the money "invested" by school districts (not used for teacher salaries or school books)? What about the millions of dollars in the state liquor fund (for replenishment of stock)? How many other "rainy day" pockets are there within the state?

These are questions your paper should answer before siding with government over the people and advocating further fiscal peccadillos by public agencies.

L.D. Slater

Salt Lake City