Shall Grand County, Utah, be authorized to impose a quarter-of-one-percent (0.25%, the equivalent of 1 cent for every $4 spent) sales and use tax for the specific purpose of transportation improvements, such as roads, trails, sidewalks, maintenance, and traffic and pedestrian safety features, with revenues divided among the county, cities and towns, within Grand County?
The Local Option Sales Tax for transportation is, as it states, primarily a sales tax. It is not an additional state-imposed fuel tax and does not tax groceries or ingredients used in food preparation. It stands to benefit the organizations of Grand County, Moab City, and Castle Valley Town.
This general Sales Tax, if approved by the registered voters within Grand County, would mean an additional 25 cents per $100 spent (equal to one penny per $4 spent) on products purchased within the city and county by residents – as well as non-residents visiting Grand County.
It is important to understand that of the 25 cents per $100 spent, 15 cents would come directly to the county organization to support county road and active transportation construction and maintenance, with most of the remaining 10 cents per $100 spent coming to the city organization for city road and active transportation construction and maintenance-as well as for traffic and pedestrian safety.
The Moab City Council formally expressed support for the Local Option Sales Tax for Transportation and requested that the County place this Proposition on the ballot this November. The Grand County Council formally and unanimously agreed.
In unincorporated Grand County there are approximately 1,520 miles of county roads including asphalt and gravel that require routine maintenance. Estimated potential revenues from the general Sales Tax would generate an additional $776,562 per year, with an estimated $626,037 allocated to unincorporated Grand County, and the remainder to Moab City and Castle Valley Town. This would help address our combined transportation shortfall, estimated at $2,234,099.
Our roads have been increasingly deteriorating for many years without having the necessary funding in place for cost-effective maintenance. In the long run, roads and paved trails cost more taxpayer dollars when they are not maintained. Slurry seals, chip seals and overlays that help keep roads in good shape are less expensive than having to rebuild a road. Choosing to enhance our ability to maintain our roads today through implementation of this general Sales Tax could be considered a financially responsible and fiscally conservative approach.
With a projected growing population of residents and non-resident visitors, increasingly deteriorating roads, and inadequate local budgets to keep up with mounting maintenance costs, you have the choice to help direct necessary funding to address this issue.
Proposition 1 is not for the construction of major highways. Proposition I is dedicated exclusively to our local transportation needs and a vote FOR wil1 provide an additional source of funding.
In summary, voting YES will generate an estimated $776,562 per year through general sales tax-at the rate of one penny per $4 spent on non-grocery products purchased within Grand County by residents and visitors alike-to help in road and active transportation construction and maintenance to allow for more transportation choices in the future.
You make the choice. Please take this opportunity to let your opinion be heard!
Grand County Council
Say No to Proposition 1
If approved, the combined state and local sales tax in Grand County will increase from 5.95% to 6.2% countywide and push it over 8% in Moab — a change that will increase taxes in Grand by $277,000, or $30 per person and $120 for an average family of four every year. This could mean the difference between a week or more worth of groceries for many families.
Utah families have had enough new taxes this year as it is. The local option sales tax would be the third tax increase Utah residents have faced this year. In March, the legislature voted to approve a 5-cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax, which now means that Utah drivers will pay over 48-cents-per-gallon just in taxes every time they fill up the tank. The state legislature also raised homeowner’s property taxes in the state an average of $50 per home.
Considered separately, these tax increases may not sound like much, but for lower-income and middle-class families, every dollar counts and higher local sales taxes would only make their financial struggles worse.
Like the gas tax increase, this sales tax will fall hardest those who have little or nothing left at the end of the month. According to the Utah Taxpayers Association, the average Utahn already pays $720 in sales taxes every year, and $3,304 in combined state and local taxes. The local option tax would add a few cents to most purchases, which quickly adds up.
If the sales tax increase is passed, Utahns would pay a quarter of a cent more for all purchases. In Grand County, this increased sales tax would scrape $277,000 out of our checkbooks, according to the state’s own analysis.
Supporters say that the proposed tax increase is, in part, for road and infrastructure improvement. But elected officials can choose to spend this money on trails, bike lanes and sidewalks instead of road improvement. Trails are nice, but we should consider needs versus wants when asking to increase taxes on Grand County families already facing two other tax increases.
Instead, our government should be looking toward prioritizing existing funds, cutting down on waste, and reducing inefficiencies wherever they find them.
Government doesn’t need more money-it needs to better prioritize where it spends the taxes we already pay. Please vote NO on Proposition I.
In addition to the City of Moab’s municipal city council election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, Grand County is holding a separate election on Proposition 1, a proposed sales tax initiative. Unlike the city, which continues to hold in-person voting on Election Day, Grand County’s election will be held exclusively by mail. Voters should have received their mail-in ballots by now; in the event that anyone hasn’t, that person can contact the Grand County Clerk’s Office at 435-259-1321. The information below is reprinted courtesy of the clerk’s office.
For more information about voter registration or other frequently asked questions, go to: www.grandcountyutah.net/612/Elections. To read the Moab Sun News’ past coverage of Prop. 1, go to: www.moabsunnews.com/news/article_7a9c82d6-62cd-11e5-9a3e-5ffbdebcd488.html, or go to: www.moabsunnews.com/news/article_33236544-15cc-11e5-ba41-5f65922a3061.html.