Thursday’s Taxing Times
August 26, 2010

Taxpayers Association’s Tobacco Tax Predictions Come True

Your Utah Taxpayers Association warned the 2010 Utah Legislature that an increased tobacco tax would lead to decreased revenue for the state and local businesses. Tobacco users would reduce their purchases or make their purchases out of state and Utah businesses would suffer. Less than two months after the increased tobacco tax went into effect, Taxpayer Association predictions are coming true.

– February 2010: Utah Taxpayers Association Opposition to Increased Tobacco Taxes (HB 196)

February 2010: Utah Taxpayers Association Opposition to Increased Tobacco Taxes (SB 40)

SL Tribune: Tax Hike Leads To Smoke Sales Plunge

Los Angeles School District $640 Million Budget Shortfall; Builds $578 Million “Taj Mahal”

In the last two years, the Los Angeles School District has laid off 3,000 teachers, currently has a budget shortfall of $640 million and has a drop out rate of 50%. They also have recently opened the most expensive public school in the country, costing taxpayers $578 million.

Associated Press: LA Unveils $578 Million School, Costliest In The Nation

Utah’s Example: How States Can Respond To Obamacare

A recent Heritage Foundation report praised Utah for its innovative healthcare solutions. The report encourages other states to follow Utah’s lead by, “implementing customized state-level reforms aimed at empowering consumers rather than federal bureaucrats.”

Heritage Foundation Report: Utah’s Example- How States Can Respond To Obamacare

Former Governor Jeb Bush Shares Strategies To Improve Utah Schools

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush spoke with Utah legislators about innovative education policies that boosted Florida from 29th to 6th in the nation’s education report card, the National Assessment of Education Programs. Representative Greg Hughes and Senator Wayne Niederhauser are drafting similar legislation for the 2011 legislative session.

Deseret News: Jeb Bush Tells Educators How To Improve Schools

Proposals To Privatize State Parks

The Privatization and Policy Board, an advisory panel to the Utah Legislature, has proposed a pilot project to see how private companies would manage several Utah state parks. Utah currently manages 43 parks, reservoirs, museums and golf courses. Utah Taxpayers Association President Howard Stephenson serves as a member on the Privatization and Policy Board.

SL Tribune: State Explores Private Management of State Parks