As most of us now know, we need to raise county property taxes, for the first time in 27 years. The fact that we haven’t raised property taxes in a generation is testament to the prosperity that our county has had for all this time, due almost solely to EnergySolutions and the Deseret Chemical Depot. Sadly, while this short-term money has been a boon to the county, it has also had a corrupting influence on our previous county commissioners, turning fiscal conservancy into fiscal irresponsibility. Now that those fees are going away, the residents of the county are being asked to finally pay our fair share for the services we need and enjoy. Frankly, we have no one to blame but ourselves, the Utah State Legislature, Texas, and Presidents Nixon and Reagan, all of whom claim to be fiscally conservative.
So tonight, the county commission—three men who, as a matter of political ideology, prefer to spend money they don’t have and leave the raising of taxes to their political opponents—will commit political suicide as they break campaign promises, party platforms, and personal morality to do what’s right for the county and become fiscally responsible. This tax increase, which translates to roughly $6/month for the average home, is about meeting our minimum obligations to each other as a community. Other counties across the state, faced with their own revenue cuts, have raised their tax rates up to hundreds of percent in recent years. Perhaps the future will see an increase in industry or some other windfall for the county. If so, I would counsel future county leaders to learn from their predecessor’s mistakes and treat that money as excess rather than operating capital.