George Chapman why he is against the Sale Tax Increase

George Chapman, former candidate for SLC Mayor
Against the ballot proposition:
The local option sales tax on the ballot, if passed, allows a county
or city to expend the tax revenue for “public transit system services
or transportation capital or reserve account” (if established before
the date the tax becomes effective). This means that rail or other
projects can be built using these tax revenues. The projects may
include, in Salt Lake City, three new rail lines downtown, an airport
high speed rail station and TRAX reconfiguration, the Sugar House
streetcar extension and a tunnel in the canyons. These are in the RTP
(Regional Transportation Plan) list of projects that the cities want
to build in the near future. Passage of this tax will increase
government spending on questionable projects that may not be
beneficial to the general public and do not have a vigorous cost
benefit analysis as recommended by the recent audit.
The bill says: “(10) (a) Revenue collected from a sales and use tax
under this section may not be used to supplant existing general fund
appropriations that a county, city, or town has budgeted for
The limitation under Subsection (10)(a) does not apply to a
designated transportation capital or reserve account a county, city,
or town may have established prior to the date the tax becomes
The taxes may also be used by the Utah Transit Authority” for
projects or for service. The bill that enacted this local option sales
tax says: “A public transit district….may expend revenue for capital
expenses and service delivery expenses of the public transit
district”. The statements that some have made that the taxes are only
for service are not true. The bill that authorized this optional tax
does not allow limiting the use of the tax for service only. According
to the RTP, in the next 10 years, increased transit service will only
be 6% of new funding versus 14% for new large capital projects. In
other words, the tax will be used for questionable projects much more
than service.
The taxes collected may be used for more controversial protected
bike lanes like Salt Lake City’s 300 South cycle track that require
pedestrians exiting vehicles to enter into the path of high speed
bicycles. It also hides bicyclists from vehicles that are turning into
driveways that cut across the cycle tracks (because parked vehicles
are between the traffic and bicyclists). The design is very unsafe for
pedestrians and bicyclists.
The bill says: “A county, city, or town may expend revenue collected
from a tax under this section, for the construction, maintenance, or
operation of an active transportation facility that is for
nonmotorized vehicles and multimodal transportation, public transit
system services; or a combination”.
The local option sales tax should not be passed by voters. It is
another way for government to get and spend more money without a
vigorous cost-benefit analysis. It siphons money for increasing
transit service and shifts it into more questionable rail and other


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