Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fiscal Conservatives should vote AGAINST Prop 6 in Highland by Tara Tarbet

The other side notes that Smith's Marketplace generates over $400K in annual sales tax revenue, Wal-Mart produces over $300K. What they choose NOT to mention is that Lehi and Cedar Hills only receive 50% of that revenue. The rest is redistributed by the state to municipalities based on each municipality's population. 

One Cedar Hills resident noted that opening stores on Sunday in their city didn't solve their city’s financial crisis. They are still struggling.

The city council wants the freedom to create and expand business districts without concern for residents located near SR-92 (between 6400 West and Alpine Highway) and along 4800 West (North County Blvd). Realtors have said that homes in those areas will lose value. Some will lose as much as $100,000 in value. Not only will the tax revenue generated from those homes go down, those homeowners may end up with homes worth less than what they owe. Rep. John Dougall told one homeowner, "Your NIMBY has been noted." Are business owners property rights more important than homeowner property rights? Some on the city council have that view.

One city councilman said that we may have to entice businesses to come through tax "incentives" and credits to locate here. That means those businesses will pay lower property taxes, usually for 3 or more years. More tax dollars, our dollars, will have to be spent looking for and encouraging businesses to come here. Land is not cheap in Highland. Tax 'incentives' may be the only way to get more businesses to come.

Since our town is relatively small, we don't have the population to support many more businesses. Tax dollars may have to be spent to entice shoppers to visit our town.

More shoppers means more traffic and more congestion. With that comes an increase in the need for law enforcement with all it's expenses. It also means more wear and tear on what Mayor Lynn Ritchie says are 'our badly deteriorating roads'. More vehicles on the roads means more of your tax dollars go to road maintenance and road repair, which will mean the city will need to either raise taxes or bring in more business. It's a vicious cycle.

More traffic and more congestion may mean a need for more traffic lights, too. Residents in the area noticed sensors being installed at the intersection of SR-92 and 5600 West while reconstruction and expansion of SR-92 was underway. How much does a traffic light cost to install and maintain? More of your tax dollars at work.

What about prices for retail items in Highland? They should go down, right? No, unfortunately one study in particular indicates that when stores open on Sunday prices rise approximately 15% to cover the cost of increased operating expenses. The same study shows an increase in sales revenue of only 0.5%, which is negligible. If you think more hours of operation will increase jobs, the same study found that "it is not clear whether the extension of working hours creates employment." 

When you vote for "Freedom" you are voting to give the city council the "freedom" to raise our taxes to cover the increased cost of law enforcement and road maintenance, "freedom" to lower home values in Highland, and "freedom" to increase traffic and congestion in our city.

Opening on Sunday will not solve Highland City’s financial woes, better management of the $83.44 per person they receive in tax dollars will.

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