Utah’s $400 million surplus: Some Legislators want to reward the rich

Of course!  And wouldn’t ya know, it’s an election year next year – how conVENient!  Excerpts from the article,

Utah state government could have an extra $400 million next year, again fueling a tax-cut debate when lawmakers convene in mid-January.

“Tax cuts will absolutely be part of the debate” during budget-setting in the 2008 Legislature, which starts in three months, said House Majority Whip Gordon Snow, R-Roosevelt, following a meeting Tuesday afternoon of the Legislature’s Executive Appropriations Committee. The 2007 Legislature gave a $220 million tax cut.

According to the Legislature’s Fiscal Analyst Office, which projects state revenues in consultation with other state agencies, the state’s two main tax funds are running surpluses that could result in extra revenues of between $246 million and $406 million by the end of the current fiscal year — June 30, 2008.

Next year is an election year for Huntsman, all of the 75 House members and half of the 29-member Senate. Lawmakers and Huntsman have given hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts the past three years — including cutting the much-hated sales tax on unprepared food in half.

The state’s personal income tax has been reformed, lowering the new single tax rate to 5 percent from slightly less than 7 percent.

However, many Utahns are now complaining about their property taxes, which are going up across the state by an average 11.6 percent, the first double-digit increase since 1999.

The state does not levy a property tax. But through the Uniform School Fund, lawmakers require local school districts to levy a basic property tax to support public schools.

And a cut in their property taxes would certainly be welcomed among some taxpayers.

That may be so, but lowering property taxes hurts much needed services, like schools, roads, police and fire.  I wish people would take their heads out of the sand and look around them.  Everyone has their own needs.  But many Utahns have needs far greater than those of us who have roofs over our heads, money to buy food and utitilies and ways to get around – you know, basic services.

Surpluses should be used towards those needs not cutting taxes AGAIN which are used for services to address those needs.

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