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Taxpayer groups leery of idea to raise sales tax rate for transit

Jul 17, 2017, 12:14 PM

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SALT LAKE CITY — A report from the Utah Transit Authority says they would be able to attract more riders if they could increase the sales tax rate to improve their services.

But Utah Taxpayers Association vice president Billy Hesterman says government entities should do everything they can before raising taxes.

“They have the experts to look at, what routes are being utilized the most, what is the most efficient way to run our system, and we hope and trust that is what they are doing, is looking at what is the best return for taxpayers,” he said.

Hesterman said UTA could help advocate on the hill for better collection of sales taxes on out-of-state online purchases. He said that would broaden the base and lead to more money for UTA.

Americans for Prosperity-Utah said in a statement that the UTA is not proving they are good stewards with the tax dollars they are currently given, with transparency issues, little-used projects and “sweetheart deals with developers.”

The 99 page UTA report goes into a lot of detail on several topics; it says it does have lower costs and more efficiency compared to some other similar agencies in the U.S.

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Taxpayer groups leery of idea to raise sales tax rate for transit