100 years ago, “The Utah Taxpayer” began publication, dedicating itself as “Devoted To The Interests of Utah Taxpayers”. “There is an insistent demand throughout the state for a reduction in taxes”, wrote the Utah Taxpayer in its inaugural edition. “The imperative need for definite information as to what the real tax situation is and how to bring about a reform has led to the decision to issue regularly a publication to deal exclusively with taxation.”
In the early afternoon of October 15th, 1923, seven businessmen met in downtown Salt Lake City to form an association of taxpayers. This first meeting of the Utah Taxpayers Association formalized a process of taxpayer advocacy that began in 1922 with the publishing of The Utah Taxpayer, the first publication devoted to acquainting citizens of this state with important tax problems, believing that collective thinking and concerted action would aid in the solution of these tax problems.
Accolades for the new association rolled in almost immediately. Governor Charles Mabey in a 1923 letter to the Association predicted that “the Association would wield an influence and power for good in this state”. The Salt Lake Tribune strongly encouraged support of the newly-formed association, writing that, “[the] ultimate results will be measured exactly by the extent to which all taxpayers, large and small, rally to support an organization formed in their interest”. The Deseret News likewise encouraged support for the Association writing, “the Utah Taxpayers Association has a big problem. . . It can be of great benefit to the state and in its efforts to serve the people it should have the cooperation of all citizens”.
Now, 100 years after the process was initiated, the Utah Taxpayers Association boasts a membership of over 1,500 businesses and individuals statewide and is recognized as the state’s independent authority on state and local tax policy. While much has changed in 100 years, the need for an effective voice for taxpayers remains constant.
Through the support and effort of our members, the Utah Taxpayers Association has saved taxpayers in Utah literally hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of preventing ill-conceived or unnecessary tax proposals and by encouraging tax relief. While the Utah Taxpayers Association has remained stoic in its commitment to economy and efficiency in government, since its founding in 1922, the Association has adapted to a modern economy and been the leading voice in making Utah the #1 state in the nation to live in and do business in. Utah now boasts as being ranked #1 in the nation for 13 years in a row with the Best Economic Outlook by ALEC’s (American Legislative Exchange Council). A distinction earned every single year the publication has been in existence.
The goals of the Utah Taxpayers Association remain unchanged. Upon its official formation in 1923, the aims and purposes of the newly-formed association were synthesized into one simple statement: In the interest of all taxpayers in this state, to assist in bringing about economies, consistent with efficiency, in the administration of our public affairs. As the Utah Taxpayers Association continues its work into the next 100 years, we will continue to be relentless in our fight to formulate and promote good tax policy in Utah and be the leading voice devoted to the interests of Utah taxpayers.
Throughout 2022, watch for articles, news releases, podcasts and special events dedicated to highlighting the Association’s rich history and long list of accomplishments.