Davis County Commision Going Wobbly on UTA Tax?

On January 2nd I updated a previous post noting that the County Commission had decided to stand up to UTA, “for now”. That time may be coming to an end:

Davis County commissioners are still mulling whether to implement a 0.05 percent sales tax increase to fund the Utah Transit Authority, but feel they now have more information than they had.

They must decide by Jan. 31.

UTA continues to threaten to cut service:

…if the tax isn’t approved, they say they will have to start cutting services possibly to express bus routes, some paratransit routes and perhaps on the FrontRunner commuter rail when it begins operating.

Sorry UTA, but spin it as you will, you are not fooling me. UTA does not have to cut service. They, without a doubt, have the option to increase user fees to cover their decreased subsidy. Let’s face it, everyone is paying for UTA rider’s tickets, like it or not – the system is not fiscally self-sufficient, hence the tax subsidy they feel entitled to.

UTA is threating to cut service simply because it carries more political ‘fear’ weight and can be more effectively spun in their favor. If UTA said ‘yeah, we can raise user prices (like a business would) to maintain the current service’, most people (except for some of the tax subsidized riders) would not have a problem with that. UTA, instead, is employing the “Washington Monument strategy“.

Finally, UTA is also running the ‘tax increase, isn’t an increase’ spin:

UTA officials have said that imposing the sales tax wouldn’t be a tax increase, since the tax on food had been cut.

Sorry, I’m not buying that line. Food taxes were, finally, cut. This is a separate tax. The idea that when we cut a tax we should increase another or create a new tax is absurd. This is, ultimately, a tax increase benefiting an interest group.


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