Thursday, August 16, 2007

Utah Site Visit 2007: Question Answered

I asked a question about un-funded mandates of the legislature and received this response.

Utah Site Visit 2007:Un-funded Mandates

4 comments:

David said...

Tyler,

Were you satisfied with the answer you got?

I really liked your question. It got me thinking about the "matching funds" promise resulting in raising taxes.

I wonder if someone can come up with a way to promise matching funds (which I think can be a good way to give incentives to cities and citizens) without making an open invitation for cities to raise taxes and shift blame.

I'm hesitant to ask this question at Utah Site Visit 2007 since I'm not a resident of either Davis or Salt Lake county.

Tyler Farrer said...

County officials need to know that if they raise taxes in order to get matching that they cannot point the finger to the state for blame.

"I had to do it to get the money", doesn't wash with me. We should preserve our corridors because it is right, not because we can funnel more taxpayer dollars our way as a result.

I'm encouraged at the commitment to push back on un-funded mandates, and hope that is the trend for the future.

I think you could leave a comment, although, it would be great to have something to say when Utah Site Visit gets to your county.

steve u. said...

Tyler,

Here's a fun one for you to watch:

The Salt Lake County Council has refused to deal with the school district split issue until funding is equalized. They called on the Legislature to first equalize funding -- with no suggestions on how that should be accomplished. In other words, on second down the Council punted.

How is it going to be accomplished? Obviously, money will go into a pot and, in the redistribution, some districts will end up with less than they started with -- meaning they'll have to raise taxes to make up the difference, if they choose not to lose that revenue.

Clearly, in any redistribution, the Salt Lake School District will lose money. They'll raise property taxes to make up the difference.

How much do you want to bet that the district and the County Council will pin the blame on the Legislature?

We're not angels up here, but much of what we seem to be doing these days is making tough decisions that the Salt Lake County Council is avoiding. I'm starting to wonder if I'm violating some constitutional provision by doing the Council's work even though I'm a Washington County residen.

Tyler Farrer said...

Steve,

That's exactly the problem that I have with the county.

Punting.

I do see the logic that is behind the things the legislature is doing, but local governments turn these good policies to strange ends.