Letter to the Editor: Stop using utility billings as hidden tax

Arriving once again with the utility bill is the annual Logan City Public Hearing notice wherein the peasants can petition the city lords to stop using the utility billings as an alternate form of taxation.

The notice comes with the usual poor reasoning that its legal, its been done now for over 30 years and without it, we denizens wouldn’t have all the wunnerful things the city cabalists so magnanimously proffer us. So of course, it must be good! Right?

It is argued that this extra costing would normally be the profits paid to a private corporation (such as Utah Plunder and Loot) for distribution to their stockholders. Why not let the people spend the difference around town and thus create more tax revenues the honest way?

Tradition is not a positive rationale for any bad idea. “Because that’s way we’ve always done it”. What a powerful argument! But government making a “profit” on the backs of its own citizens? Undisputable evidence that this is not a conservative community.

This “hidden” tax is used so the city leaders don’t have to get voter approval on an issue they know they’d certainly lose; to raise taxes for an equal amount.

With no voter approval needed, whenever the city wants more money, they simply raise rates. They’ve done this time and time again. Direct accountability to the people has been effectively bypassed!

The listed transfers this year are $4,823,683 to the General Fund, and if I understand it correctly, another $1,410,000 to fund the 911 center.

Do the math yourself. Divide the amounts by the number of residents (about 50,000), then multiply by the number of people in your household. This isn’t a perfect result, but close enough.

Some council members argue that the majority of the monies received come from major institutions, not the average dwellers, hence the cost per person is smaller. I must demur, as where does the money paid by these institutions derive from in the first place? Us!

The worst facet of this practice is that it impacts the poorest of the citizens the hardest. The percentage cut of the utility bill to a lower income family budget is much greater than to a higher income family. Because much of the fee schedule is flat rate, cutting usage affects the bill little overall. In short, this is a regressive tax, affecting the poorest among us the very most. So while the transfers may be legal, they could never rationally be considered as ethical or moral.

According to census.gov figures, 28.3% of Logan residents live below the poverty line. As 25% of the population is under age 18, children are being affected most. Good going Logan leadership!

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