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Tax watchdog group: 90 entities across Utah want to raise property taxes this year

Jul 27, 2022, 6:23 PM | Updated: Jul 28, 2022, 10:25 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Approximately 90 taxing entities have proposed property tax hikes this year, according to the Utah Taxpayers Association.

“It’s almost like all these taxing entities decided to jump in the swimming pool all at once and it’s a little hard on taxpayers,” said Rusty Cannon, the association’s president.

Cannon said the number of entities seeking to increase property taxes this year is a big jump from what his watchdog group normally tracks. He said the average is about 60 taxing entities per year attempting to raise taxes.

“There are some taxpayers that are seeing four or five tax increases on their home from different entities: schools, city, water districts, and the like,” Cannon said.

He said there are various reasons for the proposed increases, including inflation, pent-up demand during the pandemic and salary increases.

 “We’re seeing a bit of a theme through a lot of the cities, especially with law enforcement pay,” Cannon said. “They were trying to keep up with each other in recruiting and retaining law enforcement, that’s part of it.”

The proposed tax hikes come at the same time that home values across Utah have skyrocketed. Cannon said a freeze on the statewide basic levy, controlled by the state legislature, is also causing homeowners to pay more as home values increase.

Millcreek resident Brad Pehrson said his property tax bill will go up $600 this year if all the tax increases in his area are approved.

“To see a 32% increase, that just doesn’t sit right,” Pehrson said.

Because of inflation, he said Utah families are cutting back and said government agencies should be doing the same.

“With all of the challenges that people are going through right now it just doesn’t seem fair that our government is asking the people to give so much more,” he said.

Pehrson said he worries how the tax increase will impact those on fixed incomes.

“This is going to be an additional burden on people,” he said.

The list of proposed tax increases compiled by the Utah Taxpayers Association also includes the date and time of the public, Truth-in-Taxation hearings. Cannon encouraged residents to get involved in the process before the final votes on the tax hikes.

“Citizens need to engage with these city council members, with school board members before the hearing,” Cannon said. “Let them know of their displeasure and then go to the hearings and it can have a difference. That’s the point behind it, is that we hold their feet to the fire.”

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Tax watchdog group: 90 entities across Utah want to raise property taxes this year