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Budget deal

It looks like Republicans have reached a deal to balance Utah's budget and, as they put it, not raise taxes. (Read about it here.)

In truth, they plan to adopt Gov. Gary Herbert's plan to rescind the 1.35 percent of sales taxes that larger retailers now get back to offset the cost of collecting that tax for the state. Sorry guys, no matter how you finesse it, that's a tax increase on those businesses and will impact their bottom lines. Collecting sales taxes still costs them. If you think it's a good idea to remove this discount, that's fine. Just call it what it is.

Also, the deal doesn't increase cigarette taxes. The news story says there is enough pressure for that among lawmakers that it may happen anyway. That would be a good thing. The plan also would use about $417 million of the rainy day funds.

But there would be deep cuts to state services. Our editorial board has seen a steady stream of people, from those who administer aid to the poor to presidents of colleges and universities, who have laid out the consequences of these cuts.

In a year like this, I don't know how such pain could be avoided. Bad times won't last forever. I applaud lawmakers for avoiding general tax increases. Now is not the time for that, and a recent poll shows Utahns agree (read it here.). Feelings run strong: 76 percent oppose raising the income taxes, 79 percent oppose raising gasoline taxes, and 58 percent oppose raising sales taxes on groceries.

What do you think? Is it time to raise taxes despite public opinion? Are the proposed cuts too deep?