Chamber Of Commerce Front Group “OurSchoolsNow” Employs Math Spin For Tax Increase (Update)

I’ll keep this brief. First, OurSchoolsNow is yet another in the litanny of Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce political front groups bent on raising economic burdens on Utah families. The latest gambit will be yet another “why do you hate school children?” guilt trip against those opposed to the tax increase. They’ll couple this with a quiet bit of math spin on the actual percent tax increase and neglect to mention the increase doesn’t apply to them (surprise!). They spin it as a 7/8% increase on you. No it’s not:

The first shot in this effort to raise individual income taxes by a whopping 18% from 5% to 5.875% while leaving all business taxes, including the 5% corporate income tax, unchanged was fired when the elites formally announced a petition drive to raise the individual income tax…

The real math equates to: 5.875/5 = 18% increase in rate. Again, note that the Chamber was sure to exempt the business tax rates*. People caught on to that and now they’ve moved on to a “1/2% increase” on two taxes (sales and income) still exempting themselves from an increase. The 1/2% is, yet again, a misnomer. Here’s the breakdown:

Income tax rate increase: 5.5/5 = 10% increase
Sales tax increase (5.95% is the State base rate and 6.45% would be the new rate) = 6.45/5.95 = 8.4% increase

Interestingly, added together thats about 18% again, however, the actual burden of the sales tax increase depend on how much you spend. Futhermore besides exempting themselves from the tax, Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) caught on that the Chamber didn’t appear all that willing to get rid of tax subsidies they gorge on…funds that could’ve gone to schools (#ourschoolsnow stop campaigning to increase tax burden & focus on multiple subsidies robbing Ed budget”):

All this does is heap additional burdens on Utah families to keep the crony capital trough full, while virtue signalling they caaaare so much about children. The Utah swamp could use some draining.

UPDATE: Libertas is also calling out the Our Schools Now bunk and Libetas’ Connor Boyack also makes note of the “politically connected insiders” pushing this boondogle.

*FWIW: I’m not a big fan of raising corporate rates – those are essentially just passed on to consumers anyway via increased product cost which can reduces sales (hence why the Chamber of Crony Capitalists exempt themselves).

Tax Vampires: Our Schools Now Is The Latest Political Elites’ Front Group

In December, I highlighted an article on front groups used by Utah political power brokers (with the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce as the typical hub). The latest front group they’ve come up with to raise you taxes is “Our Schools Now”.

With the legislative session, Our Schools Now has popped back up to make their push to convince you to raise everyone’s taxes. Don’t fall for it. This is a good time to review the article that traces all the connections and front groups used by the people you aim to benefit from this latest push:

WHO CONTROLS UTAH? An Investigative Report on Utah’s Elite Political Brokers

It’s not just the DC swamp that needs to be drained. We need the “drain the swamp” in Utah as well.

Kissing Cousins: Salt Lake Chamber Of Commerce – Utah Government Elite Interconnections Wag The Dog

The article is lengthy but ends up being an easy read as you delve into the various front groups used to create nifty confirmation bias for politicians to justify their tax and policy excesses favoring connected businesses.

The article (WHO CONTROLS UTAH? An Investigative Report on Utah’s Elite Political Brokers) starts with a key points summary but it is well worth the read for the details supporting the conclusion:

When discussing public policy in Utah, it is important to recognize that policy elites use every tool at their command to achieve the results they want. Any pretense of objectivity is just that – a pretense.

It’s fun to have your finger on the scales of government power. It’s a good time to be a crony capitalist in Utah.

Ironically enough, the article misses the most recently created Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce front group:

Our Schools Now

Gee, I have no idea why Zions Bank would want to run a group that seeks more bond money. Oh and the address for Our Schools Now? It’s co-located with the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.

And these folks still wonder what produced Trump.

SL Chamber, Political Insider Backed “Education First PAC” Officially Funding Shumway

Disclaimer: My father is on the Senate 23 race ballot but be aware that this blog is maintained separate from my father’s campaign and is not affiliated with his campaign.  His campaign items can be found at the citizensfortasfairness.org site.

In my post on December 21, 2011 “Utah Business PAC On Education: Taxes For Thee But Not For Me” I noted how monetarily and politically powerful groups/individuals had aligned themselves under the name “Education First PAC’.  In that post,  I also highlighted the fact that they were lobbying to significantly increase taxes on everyone else fortunately drawing some push back from Senator Waddoups.  I further noted that rather than use their money to directly further fund educational initiatives they have chose to use that money to lobby for a tax increase.  Prior to above post, I noted in another post that the PAC was after the Senate 23 seat and speculated that Shumway was their preferred candidate based on his associations and the quote from a Trib article:

Education First has no intention of unseating lawmakers it sees as hostile to education, but it will groom candidates to run for vacant legislative seats, such as that of Sen. Daniel Liljenquist, the Bountiful Republican who is resigning to mount a shot at Orrin Hatch’s seat in the U.S. Senate.

In an email, sent from the big lobbying firm, the Exoro Group, I think it is safe to say that the group is firmly behind Mr. Shumway and appears to be placing significant sums of money towards his campaign:

From: Kameron Lopez [Redacted]@exoro.com
To: [Redacted]
Sent: [Redacted]
Subject: Randy Shumway for State Senate

Randy Shumway
Candidate for State Senate

The Alta Club
100 East South Temple

Friday, January 6th
8:30 am to 9:15 am

Hosted by Mark Bouchard, Natalie Gochnour, and Bob Marquardt
Continental Breakfast and Beverages

Recommended donations: $250-$2,500.
Checks payable to Friends for Randy Shumway.

If you are unable to attend, but would like to donate,
please send checks payable to:

Friends for Randy Shumway
[Remainder redacted to protect personal information]

This confirmation should come as no surprise.  Just clicking the “About” page on the groups website reveals that Mr. Shumway is on the Steering Committee.  Take a look at the page as well for a who’s who of well established power players, several of whom attended Jowers’ meeting (ironically, also at the Alta Club) that served as a jump off point to neutralise the caucus system and who were also behind the rushed and flawed HB116.  The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce is represented in the group and was a huge pusher of HB116 and has consistently opposed effective E-Verify measures (identity verification by employers to protect victim identites and prevent illegal workers – fugitives/illegal immigrants/deadbeat parent etc – from obtaining the job.  The Exoro Group (which sent this email) coordinated the Jowers’ meeting.

Another thought: This fund raiser will also help build a war chest should he lose this delegate election thus preparing him for the next delegate selection (caucus) meetings and subsequent election.

Utah Business PAC On Education: Taxes For Thee But Not For Me

There’s nothing like calling for higher taxes on others.  I suppose it feels good knowing your doing something good…with other peoples’ money.  Yet again, the Salt Lake Chamber Of Commerce and aligned organizations are calling for more government spending so long as they get the benefit without the cost.

They want the legislature to spend more on public education to benefit the business community.  Great, right?  But guess what the prime area for the state legislature to increase revenue for such is…your income tax (100% of it goes to education in Utah).  Waddoups crunched the numbers on that:

Utah, a state with a large number of children, spends $6,062 per student per year, far below the national average of $10,441. Aligning Utah spending with the national average would cost nearly $2.4 billion, requiring an income tax increase from the current rate of 5 percent to 9.4 percent, according to Waddoups.

Don’t fall for the we spend less than other states red herring.  Local circumstances will affect spending levels (ie comparing apples to oranges here) and more spending certainly does not equate to better education (Washington DC spends a lot of money but their system stinks), nor does this look at whether the system is more efficient and producing quality students compared despite the lower cost (a business goal, no?).  They also don’t seem to look at other solutions other than the “just throw more money at it” mantra.

Anyway, raising taxes on families in a slow economy (or any economy, for that matter) is the implied desire.  Why not call for the corporate tax* to be raised as they see themselves as the beneficiary of the spending increase?  Call it a user fee.  Nope, they want you to pay for it. They also prefer to pool their money not for schools but to lobby to raise your taxes and “…groom candidates to run for vacant legislative seats…” (Shumway appears to be their man in the vacant Liljenquist seat right now).

Corporate welfare is live and well in Utah.  The Salt Lake Chamber remains an enemy of taxpayers. Glad to hear Senator Waddoups is pushing back, hope voters and other legislators won’t buy the spin.


*Note: the corporate tax rate does affect business as it increases product cost.  That also means that consumers (you) effectively pay the tax if you buy their product.  In other words, don’t buy liberal lines that we need to make business pay by increasing the corporate tax – consumers pay that tax and it does slow economic activity.