Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on November 9, 2012
There’s been quite a bit of hype today after outgoing-Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon unveiled his 2013 budget proposal, which include a property tax raise. Check out the graphic below to see how and why the budget works.
Graphic courtesy of the SLCO Mayor’s Office
Thanks to current conservative rhetoric, the words “Tax Hike” have become some of the scariest in use in today’s public service system. Now of course, the conservatives have a point – we always need to be on guard against unnecessary taxes that cause undue suffering among a populace – but there are also times when they can be critical.
Take Salt Lake County for example. The last time taxes were increased was 11 years ago, in 2001. As the graphic above illustrates, the world has become more expensive, with everything from cheeseburgers, to milk, to gas costing quite a bit more these days. At the same time, Salt Lake County’s population size has increased dramatically (140,000 new residents). In other words? It costs more money to provide services, and there are more people demanding those services.
Add on top of that the recession which we are only now pulling out of. Salt Lake County Mayor Corroon and the Salt Lake County Council should be commended for their incredible work over the last 4 years – trimming every possible cut out of the budget that they could, recognizing that government needed to be as lean as possible during an economic crisis. However, there are many things that ended up on the chopping block which are still needed. Many of us often forget that the County is responsible for quite a bit more than just garbage collection and animal shelters. Salt Lake County also provides public safety (jail and District Attorney), search and rescue, emergency operations, services for children and seniors, marriage licenses, passports, elections, public health, libraries, recreation and parks, and other quality of life services – all services residents would be in an uproar if they were to be eliminated.
Corroon’s 2013 budget provides a healthy balance of both additional cuts to the budget (another estimated $5.6 Million) as well as the revenue increase which amounts to roughly $5.35 a month for the average SLCO home. $5.35 a month, a small price to pay to keep our streets safe, our quality of life up, and a secure future for our children.
Also, keep in mind that our property taxes aren’t indexed for inflation, aka.. they don’t go up every year to keep pace with the market. So if you really think about it, those of us who live in the county have actually been paying less and less property taxes every year since 2001.
The proposed budget is balanced and well thought out in its approach, restoring much demanded services, fighting back inflation (which left unchecked could cost SLCO its triple-A bond rating), all while still showing good faith by including further budget cuts.
There’s a reason why it has received unanimous support from both Democrat and Republican elected officials in the County. As a resident of Salt Lake County, I approve.