Facing a serious budget shortfall, even conservative Utah legislators are looking at tax increases. Among the proposals being debated is a sa les tax increase on food, only two years after the state dropped it 3 percent. While increasing the food tax would appear to hit Utah’s low-income families hardest, some groups, like Voices for Utah’s Children, argue that it would actually help the poor more than keeping the food tax at its 1.75 rate because the additional food tax revenue supposedly can be used for programs geared to help them. That argument is gaining momentum, with the Utah Tax Review Commission now supporting the increase. However, because the money is not earmarked for those programs, supporting the tax increase requires trusting legislators to spend the money to help the poor. Those are promises that, as low-income people who are still waiting for dental coverage can painfully attest, often ring hollow.
Due in large part to three amazing saves by goalie Nick Rimando on suddendeath penalty kicks, Real Salt Lake secured a spot in the Major League Soccer Cup as the Eastern Conference champions (ignore the geographic confusion, please). Win or lose, the championship game is a happy end to a season that has been a wicked ride for coaches, players and fans. Now, they only have to defeat the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday, Nov. 22, to call themselves champions. Although it’s not the local futbol/football team people expected to compete for a title, a champion is still a champion— even if it is, as some say, only soccer.
Serve and Collect
Starting next year, residents of unincorporated Salt Lake County could pay fees, in addition to an also-increasing property tax, of $100 or more per year for police service. Admittedly, the county has reached a point with its budget where cutting services and staff would have a significant impact on residents’ quality of life, so imposing fees may be necessary. But the proposed police service fee comes with a caveat: The more you need the cops, the more you will pay. This will unfairly punish people in high-crime areas— often, people who are also low-income. By charging a fee based, in part, on how often police service is used, the county is punishing crime victims instead of asking everyone to shoulder the burden of increasing service costs.