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NO TAX IS A GOOD TAX TO LARGE SHARE OF UTAHNS

SHARE NO TAX IS A GOOD TAX TO LARGE SHARE OF UTAHNS

Nearly half of Utahns think taxes are too high and more than half think middle-income people carry the greatest burden, a Deseret News/KSL poll shows.

The results should give ammunition to conservative GOP legislators who want a tax cut this year and to Democratic lawmakers who want to change the state's tax system. (See accompanying stories.)State government finds itself with more than $200 million in new revenue next fiscal year, which starts July 1. In light of that, some GOP lawmakers are talking about some kind of tax rebate or tax cut.

Pollster Dan Jones & Associates found in an early December poll that citizens certainly want that. Forty-seven percent said taxes in Utah are too high; 45 percent said they are about right. Only 5 percent said taxes are too low, considering needs in the state, and 3 percent didn't know.

The poll was conducted before Gov. Mike Leavitt released his recommended 1994-95 budget, which disclosed that tax officials estimate a growth of $145 million in tax revenue next year. In addition, budget officials estimate more than $55 million in surplus funds left over from the current fiscal year, making up the $200 million in new, unspent revenue.

Jones found the property tax the most hated. Thirty-seven percent want that tax lowered first, should any tax be cut. Twenty-seven percent want the 6.25 percent sales tax cut first, and 23 percent want the state income tax cut first.

Jones asked which tax should be raised, if it becomes necessary to do so. Nearly a third of Utahns said no taxes should be raised, no matter what happens to state revenues. That's a pretty strong statement and shows Utahns are in no mood for a tax hike.

If taxes should go up, 25 percent said raise the sales tax, 16 percent said raise the utility franchise tax, 10 percent said raise the property tax and 9 percent said raise the income tax.

Finally, Jones asked which income group had to bear the greatest tax burden.

Fifty-eight percent, a healthy majority, said that middle-income Utahns - those making between $24,000 and $45,000 a year - bear the greatest tax burden.

All other income groups fall way behind that; 17 percent said those making between $12,000 and $24,000 bear the greatest burden; 10 percent said upper income people, those making between $45,000 and $65,000 per year, bear the greatest burden.

Of the 604 people questioned, about 35 percent fell into the middle-income group. Thus, even some people who were not middle-income wage earners said middle-income people bear the greatest tax burden.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Deseret News/KSL poll

Which of the following statements best fits your view of the taxes Utahns currently pay?

TAXES ARE TOO HIGH, AND MOST OR ALL OF THEM SHOULD BE LOWERED 47%

TAXES ARE ABOUT RIGHT 45%

TAXES ARE TOO LOW CONSIDERING THE NEEDS IN THE STATE 5%

DON'T KNOW 3%

If taxes were lowered, which taxes should be lowered first?

PROPERTY TAX 37%

SALES TAX 27%

INCOME TAX 23%

FRANCHISE (UTILITY) TAX 7%

DON'T KNOW 6%

Poll conducted Nov. 30-Dec. 2, 1993. Margin of error +/-4 percent on interviews of 604 adults.

Conducted by Dan Jones & Associates.

Copyright 1994 Deseret News