Official: The Utah Tax-And-Spend Legislature Raised Your Taxes (Again), Will Use Legal Plunder For Political Cronies

On Wednesday, the Utah Legislature met for a special session to raise your taxes…again. Politicians say that because the State hasn’t collected sales tax from internet purchases, it has “lost” millions in revenue. First off, that isn’t the state’s/government’s money – that money belongs to citizens. It represents a portion of their labor. The government lost nothing to begin with.

You’ll notice that the state is funding things just fine and is not running a deficit. So rather than leaving us alone they’ve used this “government losing millions” to raise taxes and create a windfall for themselves to spend on their pet projects etc. This windfall comes on top of the property tax increase scheme they created earlier this year. In the case of the extra money this time, they’ve decided to dish out your money to their favored businesses (also known as crony capital).

To incentivize those companies, the state has allowed them to keep up to 18 percent of collected sales taxes. That incentive will end once the law requiring companies to collect taxes takes effect in January….However, about $55 million has already been earmarked for a tax break for manufacturers that lawmakers approved…

See, they know much better than you where you should spend your money and will even choose the businesses for you – how kind. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce is behind this especially given that Sen. Curt Bramble was the sponsor. The whole thing really embodies Bastiat’s principle of legal plunder.

On the local level, Representative Ray Ward voted for the increase (he loves raising taxes and spending people’s money for his own interests) and Senator Todd Weiler also voted for it. I have no idea why Ray Ward purports to be conservative, he’s not. At very best, he’s a very liberal republican but he should just be honest and run as a Democrat.

Then again, per KUTV’s article, maybe even some Democrats might have a problem with which cronies Ward wants to fund:

“When do we say enough to manufacturers, enough to EnergySolutions, enough to private little tax cut deals to people?” said Sen. Jim Dabakis, a Democrat.

The tax administration requirements will also hit small businesses harder with serious overhead that many have noted will likely harm them and favor big business as they can easily afford the overhead (lower per unit cost):

The requirement to collect sales tax will apply to companies that do at least 200 sales or $100,000 worth of sales in Utah in a year.

On the up side, the legislature was apparently shamed into addressing the income tax increase they imposed on middle class families (they knew about it during the general session and ran it anyway). Do note that I’ve heard it was only a partial adjustment so some will still see an increase.

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Bountiful’s 2018 Property Tax Increase (Bountiful City And Ray Ward Heaping More Tax Increases On Families)

You’ve either received or will soon receive a glossy tax increase notice from Bountiful City. They are planning on jacking up your property tax rate. Part of this is thanks to Representative Ray Ward having a voracious appetite for tax increase schemes (like the homeless offset through 2018 SB235 and property tax games). However, this also comes on the heels of:

There are a few other increases that I think I’m missing but I don’t have time and you get the gist.

City politicians, however, say we have some critical stuff to fund like roads and police. Funny thing is we already have the money but local politicians and special interests don’t want to give up their pet projects. As I said when we faced the 4000% increase for fire service, the money was flushed:

[Politicians] had other big priorities like Recreation Centers, RAP taxes, theaters, plazas* and fun attempts at new city halls, skate parks, museums, art centers, street cars and other crap I don’t remember anymore.

I also missed the forced recycling fee (which Ray Ward lobbied for). It’s garbage…literally. With China calling it quits on recycling junk, we’re literally paying an extra fee for garbage.

No wonder so many city leaders endorsed Ray Ward. Talk about scratching each others’ backs.

Finally, the offensive “Bountiful has 2nd lowest individual tax rate of the 15 Davis County cities” falsehood. It’s total shell game Beeee Essss:

Bountiful uses the city power department to cloak the actual tax/government burden by manipulating rates and fees as an additional revenue stream into the general fund that isn’t subject to truth in taxation. As I’ve demonstrated here and several city politicians (and a former city manager) acknowledge, without the cloaked power tax, actual tax rates would be roughly doubled.

Go back to the tax chart the city placed on the tax notice. If you double the rate (from 0.000832 to ~0.0016) to account for the transfer from the power company (thus comparing apples-to-apples with other cities), Bountiful ends up in the top 5 highest taxed in Davis county (about tied with Kaysville!).

Why would I get excited about Kaysville? Because Kaysville used to also use it’s municipal power company to manipulate rates and cloak taxes. Citizens figured out the game and forced an end to the practice. The result was Kaysville’s tax rate went up to it’s real (unhidden) level. This near rate match between Bountiful’s adjusted rate and Kaysville’s rate lends more credence that the above doubling is valid.

The open house is at City Hall on July 19 at 6PM and the official public meeting is at City Hall on August 7, 2018 at 7PM. Good luck.

*Addendum: Here’s some irony for you. The city is hiring two workers for their frivolous plaza. Meanwhile, the city is justifying part of the tax increase to hire two new police officers.

Thanks To Count My Vote And SB54, Primary Election Nominees Are Elected By The Minority

Just one more data point in the junk that is Count My Vote (2014’s SB54). I’m limiting this to Davis County but anticipate the same thing occurred or will occur in other counties/cities as well and will continue to do so.

Political elites and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce felt a threat to their power base so they teamed with the media and foisted “Count My Vote” drive on us which culminated in their swampy legislative cronies (Senator Bramble, naturally) shoving SB 54 down or throats in 2014. It allows candidates to circumvent the accountability of the neighborhood caucus system and pay cash to gather signatures to go directly to the primary ballot where their money provides them a key advantage over otherwise good candidates from the “great unwashed” (see video at above link).

They used the sophistry of ‘every vote counting’ and not wanting ‘anyone to be disenfranchised’ to justify their power grab while also being certain to…not provide for a run off election in the event a candidate doesn’t get over 50% of the vote. We’ll here are some nominee* vote totals we now have thanks to their dumb scheme:

Utah House of Reps, District 20 – Melissa Ballard 41% (59% did not vote for her).

Davis County Commission – Lorene Miner Kamalu 41% (59% did not vote for her).

So, who feels their vote “counted” now…do we all have a warm enfranchised feeling? No? Maybe we should tell the elites to stuff it, support restoring our voices and return to a level playing field with KeepMyVoice.

UPDATE: I changed the post title after I looked at a Salt Lake race near Davis County. This one shows the CMV/SB54 impact for the Democrat Party:

Utah House of Reps, District 24 – Jen Dailey-Provost 35% (65% did not vote for her).

*Note: Be aware that this isn’t a hit on the nominees. They may well have been able to pull the majority in a run-off but we’ll never know thanks to SB54/Count My Vote effectively muzzling the majority’s voice.

Don’t Press Your Luck With Tax-And-Spend Incumbents (UPDATE: Ray Ward Strikes Again)

Take a look at your phone bill and compare it to about a year ago, focusing on the tax portions. You’ll notice a significant increase on each phone line, ramping up your bill. You can thank our tax-and-spend legislators for this.

I don’t have time to analyze each increase for each line item this year and prior years. However, based on this article summarizing a set of 2017 tax increases (see the “Statewide telecommunications and prepaid cell phone rate increases” section) coupled with the voting record for 2017’s SB198, its clear legislators run up your bill. In South Davis, on of those with a history of voting for tax increases is Ray Ward and that’s no exception here either. Going on with my last post’s theme, it’s time to stop pressing our luck with Ward…this is a fourth ‘whammy’ and in the game, that means you’re out. I hope Phill Wright can pull off the win.

I’m probably too late for the primary election but if you’ll be voting at the polls, please take this last minute to look up voting records and be aware of many incumbents’ propensity to drive up family tax burdens.

UPDATE (6/27): Found out another item. Evidently Ray Ward was also behind forcing mandatory recycling fees down Bountiful resident throats (despite the majority of respondents opposing it). I understand he used a Scout troop to lobby (that is a no-no by Scout policies, BTW) the city council for the mandatory tax (“fee”) they surreptitiously shoved through as a “discussion” item. To top it off, the recycling market has tanked so we’re now also forced to pay for our ‘recycling’ to go to a dump. Thanks a whole bunch, Ray.

Unfortunately, Ward made it through his primary so this doesn’t bode well considering his penchant to use heavy-handed government means to fund all sorts of programs (including his own interests) through your wallet (even if it takes co-opting politically neutral groups).

Once Soft Target For Terror In Utah Hardens Itself

At the beginning of the year, I put up my (now) annual post warning of the dangers of feel-good gun bans by churches, particularly related to terrorism or mass shooting/casualty situations. As I noted then, the LDS Church was only one of two religious organizations in Utah that advertise they ban lawful citizens from carrying guns. At the time, the only other church to do so was Congregation Kol Ami.

They are now off BCI’s list of those banning a lawful and effective defensive means. It may have something to do with this (Congregation Kol Ami in SLC heightens security after three anti-Semitic incidents):

Congregation Kol Ami says they are increasing security measures in response to several incidents of anti-Semitism that occurred within a short period of time.

I won’t pretend to know much about them, but there appear to be plenty of their faith who advocate for individual defensive means in the face of bigoted threats.

LDS Church Wants One Sided Blind Trust, Open Borders

LDS Church public affairs came out with this:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long expressed its position that immigration reform should strengthen families and keep them together. The forced separation of children from their parents now occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border is harmful to families, especially to young children. We are deeply troubled by the aggressive and insensitive treatment of these families. While we recognize the right of all nations to enforce their laws and secure their borders, we encourage our national leaders to take swift action to correct this situation and seek for rational, compassionate solutions.”

Oh really? They put the blame completely on the US. No where did they state that people should not violate a nation’s laws and sovereignty if they do not want to face the possibility of separation and other legal actions. No where did the church acknowledge the fact that separation occurs precisely to protect children if they are believed to be in danger or travelling with a non family member (a red flag for human trafficking). Nor did the church acknowledge that when an adult is arrested trying to enter the United States illegally that their children can not be with them in adult jail. And finally, the church did not acknowledge that the only option to keep parents and children together is to release them into the United States which means that anyone with a child can ignore United States borders and simply tell the United States that they are coming in, like it or not (ie the previous failed/destructive ‘catch-and-release’ policy).

Instead, the church seems to expect us to just blindly trust everybody who walks in with a child, no questions asked and to effectively have an open border. Are they seriously unaware of human trafficking and sex trafficking in minors? Evidently, they prefer we do believe the alien and release the minor and potential criminal into our population with no investigation. If we did follow such a path and see a wave a child abuse, the same people would be outraged and demanding consequences for those who enacted such a negligent and cruel policy.

The church has long tacitly encouraged illegal immigration and looked the other way as victims and citizens bear the costs. Does anyone have any recollection of the church being “deeply troubled” at the incentivization of unaccompanied minors (separated families) turning up in droves at the border during Obama’s tenure? I don’t.

Then there’s the one sided concern. Apparently, they couldn’t care less about separated families of citizens or legal immigrants accused of a crime who are incarcerated pending their trial (many of the kids end up under the care of social services). Does this mean they oppose that law? What about after a conviction, especially for a non-violent crime? How about CPS abuses?….No, ‘those people’ don’t matter and don’t get you social justice media brownie points.

If they and their congressional cohorts are really serious about this, rather than virtue signalling, let’s see them change the laws for all accused of a crime and absorb the costs of housing as ‘family units’ and investigating these folks themselves. The church could also pay all medical, education and other costs associated with the new families. They would also assume the liability if any child abuse occurs and deportation costs when such a policy inevitably leads to another spike in illegal entries. Or is it more likely they’ll just pass something that pushes more costs to us and leaves victims in it’s wake while they pat themselves on the back for their piety?

UPDATE: Just thought of this – Speaking of children, I haven’t seen any press releases about being deeply troubled over abortion. Nor do I recall any expression of being deeply troubled during Obama’s detention centers during the incentivized unaccompanied minor fiasco.

Oh, and…Surprise! Or something:
Top Senate Democrat Shoots Down Cruz’s Proposal to End the Family Separation Democrats and the Media Supposedly Care So Much About, In Order to “Keep the Focus on Trump”

…and bingo (watch the video).

Do the families separated by illegal aliens not deserve any attention…and what about those dirty Canadians detaining kids and separating families?

Double Whammy: Ray Ward Hit Bountiful With Another Tax Increase

In my last post a couple of weeks ago, I highlighted the the legislature’s move to slap a tax increase on middle income families. I urge voters to question incumbents (such as Ray Ward) on this tax and spend craze. However, there’s another surreptitious tax increase and I finally got around to highlighting it.

It turns out Ray Ward also supported freezing the property tax rate for five years. “Freezing” sure doesn’t sound like an increase, does it? That’s the sophistry politicians hope you fall for. Don’t.

Here’s the trick: Property tax rates are normally variable and the dollar amount cities/counties collect on your property is fixed. For example, if the dollar amount is fixed at $1,000 for your home and it is worth $100,000 the variable rate is 1% (100,000 X 0.01 = $1,000). If next year your home’s valuation jumps to $200,000 then the variable rate drops to 0.5%  (200,000 X 0.005 = $1,000) to maintain the fixed dollar amount.

The above system was turned on its head for five years. Thus, if your home increases in value it will be taxed at the same rate and government reaps the windfall profit. In our above example, if your home valuation jumps to $200,000, it would still be taxed at 1% and your would pay $2,000 in property taxes with politicians having extra cash to play with in their sandbox. The crafty plan is banking on home values continuing to spike (and trust me, if the bubble bursts, they’ll rapidly move to ensure no loss).

The property tax manipulation is yet another gut punch for middle income families courtesy of many incumbent legislators.

But we’re not done yet! There’s another whammy. This one is a regressive tax too: As I noted back in March, Ray Ward and his legislative buddies plan on duping voters with a gas tax increase:

They will shove a question on the next election ballot asking for a 33% increase in the gas tax from $0.29/gallon to $0.39/gallon.
Here’s the flimflam: A few actual conservative legislators asked that they phrase the ballot question to include the percent increase (33%) or the old/new rate (0.29-0.39/gallon), thus giving voters clarity and context. Niet! said our liberal GOPe legislators and blocked the motion. Now the Chamber et al. can try to pull the wool over naive voters and spin the increase as ‘just a small 10 cent increase’. It’s a significant increase ($2.00 per fill-up) and will impact family budgets. In addition, it will not add even one penny to road funds since the amount going to roads from the general fund will be reduced by the amount of the increased fuel tax.

Ray Ward is the only incumbent in a primary in South Davis County right now (Edwards isn’t running). He’s supported three tax increases on middle income families (really a triple whammy). I would certainly look at his opponent (Phill Wright) as Ward is neck deep in heaping burdens on families. Regardless of where you live, check on how your incumbent has voted for the above.

Please, no more Whammies.

Full Disclosure: I know and support Phill Wright but am not affiliated with his campaign.