Utah County finally approved a combination of county and city vote in the same ballot for any of the current 5 "'vote by mail only cities' this November 2015 ballot. There are currently 5 cities that have changed their ordinances to allow mail in voting only. When the county decided to have a county vote this year along side the city vote, it forced these cities to vote TWICE, one by mail for the city, the other at the ballot box for the county.
This is a relief to many because forcing a person to vote twice, in two different places, will cause a mess and many will not know they are suppose to nor will they come out and vote.
There will be more cities following this course because the increase of those voting in these mail in vote only has caused a stir and more city councils are going to do the same thing. PG City is looking at changing our city to vote by mail only in 2016.
Update on new 4th .25 Sales Tax Increase
I just returned from MAG (MountainLand Association of Government) meeting the other night where some of our county mayors, commissioners and other members got together to discuss and vote IN FAVOR or AGAINST putting this new .25 sales tax on November 2015 ballot for a citizens vote. If the majority votes in favor, this will move to our Utah County Commissioners later this month, allowing them to vote FOR or AGAINST putting it on the November 2015 ballot.
Over the past few days we have heard that Salt Lake County, Wasatch County and a few others voted to put this new sales tax on their ballot.
HB362 , now law in 2015, is a two part law. First, it raised the gas tax that funds our ROADS. Second, it gives the option for Counties to put a new .25% Sales Tax increase (the 4th one) on this Novembers ballot.
HB362 - .25 sales tax increase splits up this way…..
1. .10 - Cities to use for ROADS or MASS TRANSIT
2. .10 - UTA for MASS TRANSIT
3. .05 - Utah County for MASS TRANSIT
After a presentation by UTA showing all the mass transit UTA will provide our county, we heard PG Mayor Mike Daniels ask UTA to show them the amount of current riders and UTA couldn’t give him the info. Hurray for Mike
Then, we heard from Commission Greg Graves as he told the mayors that a recent survey they did showed that this .25 Sales Tax Increase will never get voted in, there are to many citizens who are fed up with UTA, mass transit and the constant taxing, even for roads. He also said that spending the extra tax funds (we understand it will cost tax payers over $350,000 to hold an out of year county vote on the issue) is probably not a good idea. We heard that only six Utah County cities voted in a resolution this year in support of this sales tax increase and that is no where near a majority of cities behind this tax increase. He said that the mayors and city councils would have to get behind this tax increase and promote it as a benefit to the cities for their road funds or it will never pass.
Commissioner Bill Lee argued against the sales tax increase....yeah Bill!!
Then it was the mayors turn to debate. Several mayors said they were fine with the road funds this would bring the city, but the fact that this came with automatic mass transit UTA tax funds, they would not support it. The debate kept going and they ran out of time for a real vote. They only have seven days to decide or it’s out for this year. Then, they ended the meeting, telling the mayors to ‘email the county their vote’. and it was over.
I happened to talk to our PG Mayor Mike Daniels after, he was upset, and rightly so, that this was a public meeting and the vote should be in front of the public by law and for transparency reasons and this voting via email is wrong. Hurray again Mayor Daniels. I left , knowing he would argue the issue, but not sure how it would turn out.
So, as for now, it doesn’t look like sales tax increase this will make it on the ballot for 2015. But don’t worry, the county plans on doing a full year ‘education campaign’ to persuade the citizens on the benefits of tax funded mass transit and the wonderful UTA and high taxes for a teeny, tiny little bit of road money in PG. We did research and found that if this passed, we would be paying taxes of $10 million dollars to mass transit/UTA, we will receive somewhere around $300,000 a year, they think to use for our roads. There are other ways to get ROAD funds for PG without taxing the citizens for mass transit and giving our money to UTA. We could do a city road fee, or put certain city tax in place to get more road money if the citizens really want it.
PG City Council, Mayor and city heads have said they are FOR this HB362. Here is the resolution our city signed, we were one of the six.
City Council Benjamin Stanley is the only one who voted NO for both mass transit, sales tax resolutions....YEAH BEN!!!!
June 9, 2015 City Council passed Resolution 2015-020. Scroll to page 22 -
Again in January 2015 - Passed another resolution here.....
You get to decide for yourself, then let them know where you stand.
Reported by Lisa Liddiard
R E M I N D E R - Town Hall Meeting - T O N I G H T R E M I N D E R
Medicaid Expansion Town Hall Meeting
At America Fork Library, Thursday, August 27th, 2015 @ 6:30 pm.
There are still seats available for tonight's North Utah County Medicaid Expansion Town Hall Meeting.
To better manage the attendance, we have created an event at Eventbrite where you can quickly register and receive a ticket reserving your seat.
Use this link to register now: Medicaid Town Hall Meeting Ticket
Utah continues to lead the effort to create a first-in-the-nation model for Medicaid expansion that will mitigate the dual risks of unexpected enrollment and uncertain costs.
Please Join Brian Greene for an Important Discussion!
I would be honored if you would join me for a town hall meeting on the evening of Thursday, August 27th at the American Fork Library from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. I am combining efforts with Representatives Mike Kennedy, Jake Anderegg and Kay Christofferson to discuss the important issue of Medicaid expansion in Utah.
Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Health Act (Obamacare) is an issue that has received an enormous amount of media attention in Utah, much of which is either incomplete or inaccurate. The Legislature has dedicated a considerable amount of time to this issue over the past two years, and we will likely be debating and voting on a final proposal either in the 2016 General Session or in a Special Session called by the Governor sometime within the next few months. As a result of Utah’s cautious and measured approach, we now have the benefit of learning from the experiences of other states that quickly expanded Medicaid under the Obamacare mandate. The experiences of these early-expansion states are startling—with the norm being enrollment rates and costs far exceeding original estimates.
Utahns are proud of our record of consistently ranking as one of the best fiscally managed states, and we know that making the wrong decision on Medicaid expansion could do irreparable damage to our fiscal health. So, please join us on Thursday August 27th to make your thoughts and feelings regarding Medicaid expansion known. Or just come to learn the details and ask any questions you might have.
The American Fork Library is located at 64 South 100 East, in American Fork.
Because this town hall meeting is combining 4 legislative districts, seating is expected to fill quickly. So please RSVP to reserve your seat by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, thank you for your concern about matters that affect our state and community. If I can be of service to you in any way please do not hesitate to contact me at (801) 358-1338, or by emailing me. I look forward to visiting with you.
Rep. Brian Greene
Utah House of Representatives
Utah County - District 57
For the Deseret News
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 26 2015 12:05 a.m. MDT
FILE - Gov. Gary Herbert speaks during a panel discussion with patients and families who will benefit most from his proposed alternative to Medicaid expansion, Healthy Utah, in Salt Lake City, Thursday, March 6, 2014. The discussion was held at the Fourth Street Clinic.
Ravell Call, Deseret News
In an effort to build momentum for another attempt to bring Medicaid expansion to a supposedly conservative state, the governor is looking to impose the financial burden not on Utah taxpayers generally, but on the health care industry specifically.
You have to give credit where credit is due — and Gov. Gary Herbert’s team certainly is creative. In an effort to build momentum for another attempt to bring Medicaid expansion to a supposedly conservative state, the governor is looking to impose the financial burden not on Utah taxpayers generally, but on the health care industry specifically. While the idea sounds good in theory, in practice it would be much worse.
How would this be done? According to the governor, the proposal would require hospitals, doctors and drug companies to pay the state’s share of Medicaid expansion. “That way we don’t have to raise taxes,” Herbert said. But is an assessment different than a tax, when both amount to a mandatory confiscation of money? According to Utah policy, Speaker Greg Hughes said that these assessments can be called either taxes or fees, as long as the money comes in to state coffers. These semantics are an attempt to sugarcoat some sour, tough-to-swallow medicine.
Here’s why this plan is worse: the health-oriented businesses forced to pay such assessments are not going to absorb them. The costs will be passed on to the consumer — sick and suffering Utahns. And instead of paying a slightly higher amount of taxes, with the cost of Medicaid expansion socialized across the entire state, patients will bear a significantly higher proportion of the burden.
This idea becomes particularly pernicious when you consider doctors who choose not to see Medicaid patients, or the patients who don’t participate in this government program. Utahns already facing astronomically high medical costs will also be required to foot the bill for these “special health care assessments,” simply because they are sick. The latest instance of “Healthy Utah” might therefore exempt healthy Utahns — those who ostensibly could afford the assessment.
Proponents of this plan contend that it would hold the state financially harmless, but this is a misguided understanding of what the state actually is. Much like health care assessments would be passed on to the end consumers using health care services, the state’s costs are borne by those governed by it. Either way, a group of people has to pay for it. Given the governor’s burning desire to bring this expansive entitlement program to Utah, the operative question is: which group should be taxed (or “assessed”)?
Health care assessments — a sick tax, really — would be little more than concentrated socialism, dispersing the high costs of Medicaid expansion across a subset of the Utah population, rather than all of it. And like many government fees, it would effectively be a hidden tax that circumvents transparency. With an actual tax increase, there are procedural mechanisms in place to ensure oversight and public awareness of what each person is paying, and why. With assessments passed on to sick consumers, all they will see is their medical bills rise, without the ability to draw a correlation between their depleting bank account and the Medicaid expansion that helped to empty it.
Defending this proposal, the governor argued that it actually follows a user fee model. “The theory,” he said, “is the ones who benefit should be the ones who pay for it.” User fees for government services are a great idea — but one that the governor doesn’t support for UTA, where riders pay only between 5 and 15 percent of the full cost of their transport, or public education, where those who benefit pay even less. Color me skeptical, but it’s unlikely the governor really believes in this theory, otherwise we’d see it applied elsewhere.
And isn’t the whole idea of Medicaid expansion to provide free health care for those who allegedly can’t afford it? How does it make sense, then, for “the ones who benefit [to] be the ones who pay for it”? It doesn’t — and so Utahns who can afford to pay for their health care will bear an increased, disproportionate burden. Costs will rise, as will monthly insurance rates; the “assessments” will likely cause even more people to drop their health insurance plans, exacerbating the very situation Medicaid expansion is supposedly aimed to solve.
This latest proposal to expand Medicaid in Utah reeks of political desperation, rather than wise public policy. If the governor wants to expand a socialist program, then it should be done by dispersing costs equitably and broadly, rather than unfairly concentrating the financial impact within a small group already facing inflated medical bills. Sick Utahns with feeble knees and hands hanging down don’t need a new tax burden on their backs.
Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute.
At last night's city council meeting, Councilwomen Cindy Boyd asked if our city would be interested or able to go to an all mail-in ballot election like some other Utah cities have done. There have been reports that showed that going to an all mail-in ballot increases the voters participation. Here is the issue that is facing Utah County and these mail-in ballot cities for this General Election in November. Utah County Commissioners voted recently that as a county they will not use the all mail-in ballot option for the new county sales tax ballot vote this November. This county sales tax was voted to be on the November ballot at the cost of taxpayers for the sum of about $400,000 for this special election issue. Commissioner Lee is the only commissioner that is against this special election and the cost to the taxpayers. The cities that have adopted the all mail-in ballot option is now facing a more confusing situation for their voters. Their voters will now be required to vote twice in November. The city candidates and issues will be by mail-in ballot only and the county ballot issue will be by polling places. Two different ballots and two different election processes. Pleasant Grove will not be affected by in this November election but may face this in the future if we ever choose to go to an all mail-in ballot election. I personally would rather see an online election rather than an all mail-in ballot if there is a choice.
Written by Jennifer Baptista
Angry Letter from Mayor Wall of Mapleton to Utah County, MAG about 4th quarter cent sales tax coming on this November 2015 ballot.....This is how many feel
Letter from Mayor Brian Wall of Mapleton to (MAG) Mountain land Association of Governments, Utah County and County Mayors................
Hello all, hope you are doing fine.
As your aware the County Commissioners voted this week to add the ¼ Cent Transportation Tax initiative to the 2015 November election.
As you are all aware, Mapleton City is not in favor of this tax as it is written and will not support it during the campaign process. We are not supportive of grouping UTA within the tax, and will continue to work with our local representatives and senators to address possible changes. The gas tax and local roads moneys request from the cities in 2015 was to address the ever shrinking state monies needed to maintain our roads infrastructure. It was never our intent to address all transportation. If it was our intent, then why was UDOT left of the tax formula?
We ask that you honor our request and refrain from lumping Mapleton into the political positioning via, emails, print or reporting in the coming months. Please refrain from using phrases, verbal or written, that suggest that all Utah County Mayor’s, city staff or communities support this Tax initiative on the ballet this coming November.
Mapleton City Mayor
Response from Utah County Commissioner Greg Graves to Mayor Brian Wall of Mapleton
I am fine with your position as we have talked but to clarify, UDOT was not left out of the equation. They have never been involved in the 1/4 cents and are part of the new gas tax increase. I just thought I would remind your city that this gas and 1/4 cent was passed to address all of the transportation components at this time. Not a full fix but a start. Your residents do take part of that. Like I said when I voted to place this on the ballot, it is not perfect but it is the best we got right now.
I would also like to state that the majority of mayors (including you) were very interested in the legislators doing something. There was even talk that the mayors would find new candidates if they did not address the need for the local communities. They have started that and I believe that it is still relevant. The fact still remains, either you have needs or you don't? If you do, this is a step in the right direction, if you do not then I am open to other alternatives than tax increases to fund transportation. You and the other mayors are much smarter than me, so I will wait for those alternatives to cover rising needs and costs and go to battle for you.
Utah County Commissioner Greg Graves
Response from Mayor Brian Wall of Mapleton to Utah County Commissioner Greg Graves
To state it quickly.
1. “They have never been involved in the 1/4 cents and are part of the new gas tax increase. I just thought I would remind your city that this gas and 1/4 cent was passed to address all of the transportation components at this time.”
We (Or “I” as a Mayor, if I heard it wrong) were asking for money to fix local roads. I cannot remember one conversation supporting the need or addition to get money for UTA, not once. In fact, Andrew gave us an update during the session and everyone was caught off guard with, that Speaker Hughes had added a UTA funding measure to the formula and his unwillingness to negotiate whatsoever.
2. “Like I said when I voted to place this on the ballot, it is not perfect but it is the best we got right now.”
It’s the best we have? Passing bad bills is bad politics. If you anticipate asking the public for more at a later date, or we come back and say it was a step but it’s not enough, then we are doomed. The voting public might give you one chance on one request for a need but not two. If it’s not right don’t support it, wait, work on it ask for changes. You’re not going to get a second chance at this. Look at the past issues with Springville, and PG trying to pass bonds to get there city infrastructure updated. They have tried many different times and many different ways and the public continues to vote it down.
3. “I would also like to state that the majority of mayors (including you) were very interested in the legislators doing something.”
Again, Roads money, we never asked for an entire transportation funding bill. This started years ago with Provo City recommending the Mayor seek legislative approval of a City road tax, that ended up as a Utility fee. I welcome the gas tax, but cannot support the bill as passed. Feels like Pork-Barrel Politics' politicians and government "officially or unofficially" undertaking projects and spending that mostly benefits the needs of a small select group despite the fact that the entire community's funds are being used.
All I’m saying is the gas tax was the good step. The ¼ transportation tax is not as it was passed. A little good sprinkle on a lot of bad is not a good start.
Look, you can all move forward as you would like, I just choose to disagree with the direction. I believe it will be a loser and exact a ton of political capital from the local politicians, the one thing the legislators put in your hands on purpose. I understand that the large cities will benefit the most and will be the key factors in the vote. I’m not dumb to the idea that Mapleton with our 3000 votes will make little difference in the outcome, I’m just asking that you keep us out of the conversation or insinuate that all of the Utah County mayor’s, staff’s or communities support this. That’s all.
Mapleton City Mayor
Reported by Lisa Liddiard
George Washington’s Farewell Address –
Deuteronomy for the United States of America
Michael R. Butt
The Book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament is largely acknowledged as Moses’ Farewell Discourse to the children of Israel – given prior to his death. The word is defined as “repetition of the law”, meaning that Moses reviewed the moral, religious and political law that was set forth for Israel. He spoke of them as a nation, even though they had not yet obtained the land that would establish them as such. He enumerates both blessings for obedience to the law and cursing for disobedience to it. These are given in manner that is prophetic – he spoke not just to the people that stood before him, but to all future generations of the nation of Israel. As one reads the record in the Bible, one can witness that future generations were not faithful to their covenant, did not heed the warnings given to them and received the consequences that were delineated to them from their “Father” Moses.
The United States of America has its own Farewell Discourse from the one who knows us best – Father Washington. Before departing to retirement, and subsequently to the world of spirits, the great patriot, warrior, executive, sage and founder left to his countrymen counsel, wisdom, warning and prophesy regarding our gift of liberty embodied in our Constitution and the preservation of our Republic.
Although it takes some effort to examine it, being that he came from an era of refinement in our language, it is worthy of the task to do so. Obtaining a copy is as simple as typing the words in an Internet search and one can pick from a variety of sources – some even provide an outline and a vocabulary to explain the more complex terms.
I have been grateful to discover that preceding patriots have held the same view of the importance of this document. The following quote was spoken when I was age five:
If ever this country needed the timeless wisdom of the Father of our Country, it is today. How much our country could benefit by following the wisdom of our country’s first president…It would profit all of us as citizens to read again Washington’s Farewell Address to his countrymen. The address is prophetic. I believe it ranks alongside the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
(Ezra Taft Benson, “God’s Hand in Our Nation’s History”, given at Brigham Young University on 28 March 1976.)
I tremble to know what all has transpired and what careless and even diabolical acts have been performed to thrash the divine law of my nation - leaving it torn and tattered. I think about the quote of Benjamin Franklin, when leaving the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and asked by a bystander what form of government was attained – he answered, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
It is a harsh reality to discover that we have NOT kept it! We no longer operate under the original form and intent of the Supreme Law of the Land and haven’t for over 100 years. In the year 1913 alone, the era when my GREAT-GREAT Grandparents were the voting constituency, our Constitution was assaulted so savagely and the founder’s imbedded genius so trampled that it can hardly be said that we have lived under its intended structure since.
I resonate with the image of being among the assembly foreseen by a nineteenth century Patriarch:
I looked and beheld that many who were angry with the rulers of the Republic, for the subversion of the Constitutional law, and their wholesale plunder of the public moneys, arose and proclaimed themselves the friends of the Constitution in its original form. These looked around for some others to sustain the country's flag inviolate, pledging themselves and their fortunes and sacred honours to that end.
(From Charles D Evans’ Dream of December 25, 1882 – emphasis mine)
These “rulers” would appear to include past and present leaders, scholars and other disrupting agents that have sought to inculcate into the minds of the citizenry the fallacy of being a democracy or involving the democratic process in the performance of our government. The founders were vehemently against any such ideology and purposefully designed our governmental system otherwise.
John Adams had this to say about a democratic government:
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
James Madison, in Federalist No. 10 gave this explanation:
…a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.
A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.
The Founders’ had designed for us a representative republic. The word “democracy” is nowhere found in the Constitution.
Democracies fail mainly at the point that a certain group discover that they can alter laws that make it possible to legally take away the property and liberties of others. They preach the attributes of democracy, but stealthily seize power as quickly as possible. They create conflicts by promoting to the minority groups that they are being abused on the basis of race, religion, wealth, political affiliation, location, and most recently – sexual orientation. They appeal to the emotions that will advance their desired outcomes, such as jealousy, greed, and entitlement.
President Washington sternly warned in his address:
All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction; to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community, and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans, digested by common councils and modified by mutual interests.
However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.
The design of a Republic, where the Congress is divided by those directly elected by the people and those that are appointed by the States, is to create a barrier between the passions of smaller groups and solid laws that protect the whole; to avoid making decisions during the tempest of the moment and instead patiently waiting for the perspective that comes when calmer waters prevail. This is why it was devised to have members of the House of Representatives serving terms of two years versus Senators serving for six. Tragically, the 17th Amendment has obliterated this wonder of political engineering (the “Great Compromise” of the Constitutional Convention) and we have only experienced the damaging effect of the whims and desires of the people being given precedence for the longer six-year terms and have fashioned the term “career politician.” Like Aladdin’s genie, these demagogues grant wishes to any special interest group that will commit their votes and ensure there perpetual position of power, passing laws that place us in fetters and inflating the national debt to a point that is no longer sustainable – while many of them sup on a feast of private wealth acquired through back-door deals and “privileged” information.
Let the reader view some of the finer gems of the Farewell Address and discern whether we, like Israel of old, have ignored the wisdom of The Father of Our Country:
On the benefit of a Republican government: The unity of government…is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence…of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize.
On avoiding party systems: It serves to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration….agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one….against another….it opens the door to foreign influence and corruption…thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.
On the importance of religion and morality: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice?
On maintaining stable public credit. …cherish public credit. One method of preserving it is to use it as sparingly as possible…avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt….it is essential that you…bear in mind, that towards the payments of debts there must be Revenue, that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not…inconvenient and unpleasant…
On shunning permanent foreign alliances: It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world…
On restricting the growth of the military: …avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments, which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty.
On cherishing patriotism: ...the name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism…
As I have studied this great work as well as the voluminous history of the amendments and alterations imposed upon our Constitution and the impacts to our national culture, I feel like King Josiah of old who rent his clothes in anguish when the Book of the Law (as given by Moses) first sounded upon his ears, and he knew that his nation had detached itself from its moral, religious and political moorings and had drifted treacherously far from the safety of its founding shores.
It is time for this generation to awaken to the voice of our Founding Parent, study his counsel, recognize the need to return to the safety of his wisdom and work our way back toward the path that he and his fellow founders set us on. If we choose to ignore them, we do so at our own peril.
PG City Constitutional Watchdog Alert!!
Citizens Are Being Double Taxed The Roads
Utah State Law taxes the citizens through what is called "the gas tax” to pay for our roads. Currently, the State takes 70% of these tax funds to pay for State Roads. The County and City split the remaining 30%, which doesn’t give us much to repair and build our city roads.
PG City receives about $750,000 each year from our percent of the gas tax. We took out a BOND LOAN a few years ago to pay for new roads connecting to the freeway and such, which won’t be paid in full until the end of 2017. Yearly payments total $550,000. That leaves us with about $250,000 each year to repair/replace our old roads, which is not enough to keep our roads in good shape.
Citizens have complained for years and continue to, without remembering that most of the road tax funds are paying off old DEBT.
With all this complaining, the city council voted in 2013 for a SECOND ROAD TAX, attached to the Municipal Energy Use Tax on our gas electric utilities. The rate as of June 2013 was 5.051% and was raised to 6.0% in July. This DOUBLE ROAD TAX has given the city an extra $200,000 each year to repair the roads. This energy tax can be used for roads, or just about anything the city has a need. .
You can read the city council meeting notes for July 2013 to find the discussion and vote. You can also pull up the 2013 (CAFR) City Annual Financial Reports. You can track the Class C Road funds in the Final City Budgets of 2013, 2014, and 2015.
In a city council meeting in September 2014, discussions are being readied for January 2015, where they will really dive into finding out what it would take in extra taxes to fix all our roads and then showing the people how money and if they do this,
Many uneducated citizens might end up voting for more road bonds and put our city in TRIPLE TAXATION.
We are currently in city bond debt over $62 million dollars, our underground water pipes need millions to repair, as well as the new unconstitutional mass transit BRT trains and rails that Utah County and MAG are shoving down citizens throats to the tune of $200 million taxed dollars, and the 25 new taxes attached to Obamacare most citizens are not aware of, along with FORCED monthly medical premium payments required of ALL Americans or pay a large fine that increases each year.
We need to get our city out of all debt, increase user fees at all government owned unconstitutional businesses until they are sold, attach a savings to each government utility so no bond loans are needed in the future.
Lisa Liddiard and Jennifer Baptista
PG Citizen Watchdogs
14 Likes34 Comments
Constitutional Watchdog Alert
Let’s Talk About Bonds
A Bond is a LOAN with INTEREST, paid by
citizens who are TAXED for each one.
Most bonds stretch out payments for 20 -25 years.
All bonds are attached to a NEW TAX to guarantee payment.
PG City Government has over $62 million of BOND DEBT on the books as of October 2014.
Our city is not late or behind on payments, but we are on the hook for these bonds (principle and interest) until they are paid off.
Some bonds are attached as a TAX to a city enterprise fund, like a utility bill. This tax increases our user fee for years until the bond and interest are paid in full. Others are taken from property tax, sales tax, class c road funds (gas tax), tax increment, municipal energy tax, and impact fees, among others.
An impact fee is for developers (residential and business) when they build in our city. They are required to pay a one-time development fee calculated through the city economic department and added to building permits.
Paying on a bond for work done in the past, requires that most of our current funds be redirected to pay old bond debt. This dramatically lowers the amount of money we need to take care of present and future needs in the city.
Utah County Bond Debt as of December 2014 totals $215,180,000.00 and that is principle only. If we include the INTEREST we are close to $400 million in bond debt for Utah County. If the BRT gets put in all the way, multi millions will be added to this mess.
Utah State bond debt we are looking up.
Federal Debt (not bond) is $17.5 trillion funded liabilities and $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities (Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security). Just to knock your socks off, there is only $65 trillion dollars on the earth today. We owe more than world even has.
Here is a current list of the bond debt in PG City
Tax Increment Bonds
2011 Tax Increment Bond for (refinance of Hammons Hotel Land)
Land as gift from PG City to build hotel in our city
June 2014 balance $17,331,000.00
Secured by: Tax increment and Sales Tax
Currently paid by: Hammons Hotel
Yearly payments: $1,558,000.00
Bond balloon payment: December 2021
Bond ends: December 2031
Road Construction Bond
2008 Class C Road Bond for (19 miles of road)
Balance as of June 2014: $2,555,000.00
Secured by: Class C Road Funds
Funded by: Class C Road Funds, Water, Sewer & Storm
Bond Balloon payment 2015 : $771,063.00
Bond Ends: January 2018
Sales Tax Bond
2012 Sales Tax Bond for (PG Boulevard)
Balance June 2014 - $3,955,000.00
Payment in 2015: $495,263.00
Secured by: Sales Tax Revenue
Funded by: Drain Impact Fees
Bond Ends: December 2022
General Obligation Bond
2008 GO Bond for (Rec Community Center)
Balance in June 2014: $4,230,000.00
Payment 2015: $320,083.00
Secured by: Property Taxes
Funding Source: Property Taxes
Bond Ends: October 2031
Water Revenue Bond through Enterprise Fund Debt
Enterprise bonds average .5 to 2% interest
1994 Water Revenue Bond for (Culinary water System)
Balance in June 2014: $47,000.00
Payment 2015: $23,268.00
Secured by: Water Revenues
Funding Source: Water Revenues
Bond Ends: December 2015
2002A Water Revenue Bond for (Culinary Water System)
Balance in June 2014: $54,000.00
Payment 2015: $9,000.00
Secured by: Water Revenues
Funding Source: Water Revenues
Bond Ends: December 2018
2002B Water Revenue Bond for (Culinary Water System)
Balance in June 2014: $891,000.00
Payment 2015: $115,087.00
Secured by: Water Revenues
Funding Source: Water Revenues
Bond Ends: December 2022
2004 Water Revenue Bond for (Culinary Water System)
Balance in June 2014: $972,000.00
Payment 2015: $90,524.00
Secured by: Water Revenues
Funding Source: Water Revenues
Bond Ends: December 2025
2006 Water Revenue Bond for (Culinary Water System)
Balance in June 2014: $224,000.00
Payment 2015: $20,808.00
Secured by: Water Revenues
Funding Source: Water Revenues
Bond Ends: December 2026
2006 B Water Revenue Bond for (Secondary Water System)
Balance in June 2014: $9,530,000.00
Payment 2015: $804,188.00
Secured by: Water Revenues
Funding Source: Water Revenues
Bond Ends: December 2031
2008 Water Revenue Bond for (Secondary Water Systems)
Balance in June 2014: $9,440,000.00
Payment 2015: $746,282.00
Secured by: Water Revenues
Funded by: Water Revenues
Bond Ends: December 2033
2010 Water Revenue Bond for (Waterlines, Grove/BattleCreek Pipeline & Detention)
2% interest loan with 35% interest rebate because loaned from Ut. State
Balance in June 2014: $923,000.00
Payment 2015: $65,014.00
Secured by: Water Revenues
Funded by: Water Revenues
Bond Ends: December 2031
2011 Storm Drain Revenue Bond for (Basins, Property Acquisition)
Balance in June 2014: $6,680,000.00
Payment 2015: $454,532.00
Secured by: Storm Drain Revenue
Funded by: Storm Drain Revenue
Bond Ends: July 2036
2013 Storm Drain Revenue Bond for (Detention Basin)
Balance in June 2014: $5,500,000.00
Payment 2015: $295,288.00
Secured by: Storm Drain Revenue
Funded by: Storm Drain Revenue
Bond Ends: July 2038
Join us to "Restore the Constitution and Proper Role of Our Government in our City"
Lisa Liddiard and Jennifer Baptista
This is in regards to the City Council Agenda Item #H – Shannon Fields on the next City Council meeting, Wednesday, November 5th at 6 pm.
We need all who can to come down to the city and speak out AGAINST using city tax funds to build softball fields at the rodeo grounds at Shannon Fields.
The following was taken from the September 9, 2014 City Council Meeting in the section called “Discussion on Shannon Fields Plans and Budget”.
PG City sold Battle Creek Park to Alpine School District this year as part of an unconstitutional tax break and land gift called an “incentive program” that is only allowed to certain big business to get them to come into our city…this one was for doTerra to build here. The City gave them the existing softball field that is next to the baseball field. Some of the money from the sell was to build a NEW softball field at Shannon Fields (Rodeo Grounds).
The council and administrator talked about using $435,000 part we received from the school district to build a new field.
At this discussion, it was said that the real cost of these 2 new softball fields, additional improvements and $120,000 design and engineering costs would be closer to $1,471,172.
The 2 fields would require, like always, “additional improvements” to the area and thus more tax money. Any private business wanting to do this would have to follow the city rules and be forced to provide these additional improvements and so will the city.
They would set this out in phases.
Phase 1 & 2 – Two New Softball fields
Phase 3 - New Parking Lot
Phase 4 – New Driveway between the parking lot and road
Phase 5 – New access road connection from 500 S. to 240 W.
Phase 6 & 7 – New north access road for Head Start Building
Phase 7 – New formal parking for Rodeo grounds
PG City only has $435,000 cash from the school district sale. They want to take additional tax funds in $600,000 from the ‘Park Impact Fee’ account, to pay for all phases. This Park Impact Fee account currently has inside $1.1 million but the city doesn’t want to use it all, only part and save the rest for other park improvements.
Another option talked about is to build only ONE softball field (phase 1) but this would still require the city to build two of the additional improvements (phase 3 and 5). If they choose this option, the total amount would be $1 million.
The City Attorney said to follow state law; we must use all impact fees for parks in some manner. There is nothing legally binding that forces the city to use these $435,000 funds towards field. These funds can be used for anything.
The City Administrator discussed the possibly of bidding out the construction job (Phases 1-5) separately and get the real prices, so the council can discuss which phases to complete and when.
The Mayor talked about the need and appropriateness of looking at this project now verses later, before they make any decisions considering what is going on financially in the city and the many other pressing financial needs.
There was talk about using the funds to build a bike park instead. The city currently has a bike park plan that is in the concept and design process.
The Administrator stated that the staff would like to proceed to obtain bids. Once the numbers are gathered, decisions can be made.
At this meeting and subsequent meetings, NO permission or direction from the council was ever given publicly to put this up for a bid.
PG City put this Shannon Field project up for a bid on October 14, 2014.
They received bids and in the upcoming city council meeting on Wednesday, November 5th, agenda item #H is set for the city council to AWARD THE BID for the Shannon Fields Softball complex to S & L Construction.
Considering the finances in the city, the need for funds for the public safety issues and the over $62 million dollar bond debt the city is currently in, we need to ALL come to the city council meeting and tell the them in the OPEN SESSON that we want them to stop spending our tax money on parks and ball fields and start paying for public safety building, bringing down debt and roads.
Get educated and join us to restore the proper role of government in our city.
Lisa Liddiard and Jennifer Baptista
We have recently heard from PG City that a ‘4 block Civic Center Plan’ has not been adopted or voted in by the council. They are saying there is a real ‘4 block Civic Center Plan’, but it’s just a general “guideline”, not adopted in formally as city code or law.
Well, it’s all about word play. There is a document called “4 block Civic Center Plan” in the city, that hasn’t been adopted in, but the city has created it, used it to pay over $56,000 to hire MOCHA to vet it, purchased property east of the currently police and fire department to build it, talked about it over and over for years in city council meetings and created a financial GO Bond for the citizens to vote on,….but alas, it’s only a guideline, not adopted in.
We disagree…….and we can prove it.
There are two city adopted and voted in plans, both contain the Civic Center portion which includes a city hall, new library, police, fire, park, water feature, arts department, amphitheater, retail shops, etc. Located in the PG City General Plan (adopted 2007) and again in the Downtown 2020 Action Plan (adopted 2008) , and the Downtown Design Guidelines. This Civic Center will be downtown and take up either 2, 3, 4 blocks at least, with what features they have inside. Inside you can read the words these plans and see for yourself. Just make sure you are looking at the most current version, they are all revised and adopted in again. Today on the PG City website, under PLANNING, we have the old versions.
All city plans were brought to us by Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG) who came to our city and used their people, Federal Government funds, and software to help our city adopt in each plan one by one, starting in 2006. MAG is the unconstitutional regional Federal arm that has taken the place of our County seat and we will be writing more Constitutional Alerts on this fun Federal mess.
In our plans, if a citizen wants to amend the city general plan they must do the following…..
The public may request amendments to the Plan. Applicants must show that any amendment of the Plan
1. Is in harmony and consistent with City land use ordinances,
2. Is in the best interest of the City
3. Promotes the general welfare of the community
4. Maintains or improves the quality of life for the citizens of Pleasant Grove
Notice it’s doesn’t say in harmony and consistent with the constitution, our republic, the individuals private property rights, best interest of the individual, but must promote the general welfare of the collective and improve the quality of life for the collective.
There is a lot of speak about STANDARDS and GUIDELINES. But BOTH are tied to the city PLAN and city CODE law. Which means plan over private property rights. Collective over Individual, not what our founders and Constitution require.
Below is an excerpt from the DownTown2020 Action Plan (page 16), adopted in by city council 2008. This plan, like the others has a section inside that talks about the civic center to be NEW, not add on, fix or restore. Although the actual location, build and design was not done yet, it must meet the specification and objectives of this plan that was adopted in, and the STANDARDS and GUIDELINES.
STANDARDS are tied to city code and are forced to code law. Guidelines are not. The plan says the future civic center must meet both.
“A prevailing opinion through these planning processes is that an effective downtown in Pleasant Grove is dependent on its remaining the center for public uses, including general government uses, library facilities, cultural facilities, the post office, the senior center, a future transit station and public open spaces. Each of these uses not only brings people to downtown, but enables downtown to maintain its position as a center of social life in the community.”
“Although the exact location, composition and design of new civic structures are yet to be determined, the detail and specifications should be steered by the objectives of this plan and the Pleasant Grove Downtown Village Design Standards and Guidelines.”
I ask you all to read up on our city plans, every word, highlight, gather facts and get ready.
Because we have formed a very detailed plans of our own.
1. Education Plan to teach every PG Citizens how our Constitutional Republic works
2. Restoration Plan to restore the republic
3. Financial Plan to pay off our $62 million dollar bond debt, savings for all accounts and remove all subsidizing and use of tax money from the citizens
4. Government Form Plan to restore our city government form to what the founders gave us
We know that the power of city government is in the hands of the individual citizen, but today the power of city government is in the hands of the CITY ATTORNEY
And all will be restored to their proper place
Lisa Liddiard and Jennifer Baptista
A Great Way To Bring Businesses To Pleasant Grove without Taxing or giving tax breaks, land and zoning deals to them ..
Currently Orem City has their CARE tax, those who shop in that city are taxed through sales tax they are forced to pay. Then, a portion of that tax is given to certain businesses that are in the art, recreation, ball field, games, parks, theater and such. Even PRIVATE BUSINESSES get a big chunk of free tax money to keep their doors open.
Well, American Fork just voted in their own PARC tax YESTERDAY, that does the same thing.
So, why don't we advertise for businesses to come to PG and people to shop in a place where they aren't paying the extra TAX, where certain businesses are NOT getting the government hand out the rest don't get.
Come to PG where you are treated with equal protection, equal treatment under the law. Come where you can shop without the TAX.
FOUNDING FATHER TRUTHS
“Separation of Church and State” – What Does It Really Mean?
Many secularist scholars and Americans today believe that ALL religion and mention of GOD is to be removed from government and public education.
In 1947, the U.S. Supreme Court falsely used Thomas Jefferson’s “separation of church and state” comment, to remove all religious expressing from government and incorrectly attributed to Jefferson as being the author of the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Jefferson was in France when the Constitution and the First Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights were formed.
The ‘separation of church and state’ was written by Jefferson, as a response inside a personal letter to the Danbury Baptists of Rhode Island in 1802.
Before the United States of American was truly formed England was ruling the 13 colonies under a Monarchy government. For many centuries in England, the government forced one government religion on the people and taxed them to support and uphold it. There was no freedom of religion and the government controlled all religious matters.
Jefferson’s meaning of his ‘Separation clause’ was to prevent the government from taking control of a church, it’s doctrine and punishing for religious expression. It was never meant to be used to secularize the government, exclude God, righteousness, and morality from the state.
The First Amendment
Keep government limited was the meaning and words behind the First Amendment. “Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The beginning part of the first amendment is called the Establishment Clause. The ending is called the Free Exercise Clause. Both clauses point at and prohibit the government, NOT the church. Prohibit the government from enforcing religions to conform, and free exercise of religion, government was required to protect. It is to prohibit the power of Congress only, not religious organizations or individuals.
US Supreme Court Interpretation
In 1878 the U.S. Supreme Court used Jefferson’s “Separation of Church and State” meaning correctly when they said it was for government to protect, not limit.
Then by 1947, in the court case Everson verses Board of Education, the court reversed it’s historic meaning and restated that the ‘separation of church and state ‘ does not mean to protect religions in government, but to remove them.
In 1948, the US Supreme Court repeated the new meaning and interpretation and referred to the First Amendment is to “ erect a wall between church and state, which must be kept high and impregnable”
Jefferson believed in Separation in the Federal Government, but not for the States and Cities. He did believe and write many religious laws while serving in Virginia State.
In the early 1800’s Congress approved Christian church services on Sundays at the U.S. Capital Building, War Department, and Treasury Department. By 1867, the U.S. Capital was the largest Christian church in Washington D.C.
Today, we are so far from what the Founding Fathers and God gave us in our government's protection of religious freedoms, it's hardly recognized.
A restoration is needed and it starts today.
Tonight’s PG City Council meeting agenda item up for a vote is to consider for adoption a Resolution encouraging the State of Utah to address “comprehensive transportation funding”.
Comprehensive transportation funding allows for ‘additional ways’ to TAX the private property of citizens to pay for mass transit (trains, bus, subway) bike and walking paths and trails, etc.
Currently, Utah uses the gas tax, which by law can only be used for roads and nothing else. Gas tax is user based. Those who use gas pay the tax, those who don’t, don’t. Our state gas tax hasn’t been increased by the legislature since 1997. This should be addressed and increased every few years to adjust for inflation and increases in products.
The biggest road problem we are dealing with today is the funding of the gas tax and the second is PG City has to take approximately 75% of the gas tax funds we receive and to pay off an old road bond debt which leaves us with a little over 25% to work with. This bond will be paid off the beginning of 2018.
Those two reasons are why our city roads are not looking great today.
In order to fund mass transit, additional “comprehensive” taxing paths must be found and taken. The most popular idea they are throwing around is to increasing the sales tax citizens pay in Utah County instead of increasing the gas tax. Once sales tax is increase, all citizens will be subsidizing mass transit, whether they use it or not. Once this sales tax is increase, it will never go back down. Then, other taxing avenues will be needed to subsidize new building and maintenance.
Mass transit in Salt Lake City is deeply subsidized by taxpayers. Those who ride the bus and trains pay a discounted fee and confiscating the private property of the citizens pays for the rest.
Why not spend the time and money pushing the Utah legislature to increase the user fee gas tax that funds our roads instead of using that same energy and funds to push a tax increase on sales tax that will open the door to force citizens to fund mass transit?
Utah County is currently pushing this $85 billion dollar mass transit program in our county that will be funded by you and me.
I often hear the words “the federal government will give us a matching grant”. Who is the federal government anyway? Where do they get their funds? From US. We are the federal government funds. The feds take our private property in taxes and give to the other states and do the same to them.
We as Utah citizens will fund the entire mass transit that is being discussed and voted on right now in our county using the lobby arms of the Utah League Of Cities and Towns, SL Chamber of Commerce with their Transportation Coalition, UTA, and Department of Transportation are all pushing each city to vote in resolution that agree to ignore the gas tax and spend time and money to fund ‘comprehensive transportation’ in our county.
In a meeting at Utah County Commissioners in September 2014, it was said by certain commissioner that if we don’t use the government to tax, fund, build and maintain mass transit we won’t be able to get from here to there. That is not true. We can and should spend our gas tax funds on roads. We can always build new roads to accommodate the growth in our areas. Not many citizens take mass transit anyway they use automobiles because they are faster and more convenient. We live in a mountain area and will never have a mass of people trying to ride a bike up and down the mountain to get from here to there or get to the mass transit stop…. we have, do and will always favor automobiles. In Salt Lake City, they are not able to fill up the tax funded trains, people are still using their automobiles. Unfortunately, the government is now locked into funding the mass transit and the new roads are not getting built.
Come down and see if the city council will allows you to speak out against this city resolution or send an email to the city council and mayor. We need everyone to stand for constitutional principles at all times and in all places and to never let a socialism law find it’s way into our governments.
Subsidizing for government to provide production or distribution of goods is socialism.
Utah County is getting ready to sign the paperwork that puts county residents in debt $65 million on a bond next week. This will max out the counties bonding power and lock us in for twenty years, unless we tell them NO at Tuesday’s public meeting.
Utah County revenue from taxes and such is $75 million a year, but is currently in $230 million bond debt and this additional $65 million bond will put us to the limit.
Another $75 million is suppose to be coming from a Federal Government grant to pay the other half of this project. Where does the federal government get the money to give grants? From YOU and ME. We will be taxed twice and forced to pay back both the entire $150 million BRT costs.
The BRT is a new public rapid transit bus system that will only service Provo and Orem. All county residents will be on the hook for the multimillion dollar bond and taxed at 80% to 90%, that will be used to subsidize the building and ongoing maintenance. You can check it out atwww.ProvoOremBRT.com
UTA is in so much debt they’ve maxed out of their bonding power and are asking county to bond for them. Due to high debt amounts, UTA’s bond rating has also been downgraded. Being high risk makes it harder to bond in the future and we will pay higher interest on those bonds. Remember, the citizens are taxed to fund both UTA and Utah County, and it’s the citizens that will suffer.
UTA’s revenue from taxes and fees is $275 million a year, but the debt is $1.8 BILLION from several bonds, that won’t start being paid off until 2028. UTA claims they will purchase the BRT system from Utah County at that time and repay all the past costs, but no one can predict what our economy will look like that far down the road. Since UTA is just another government taxing arm, the debt and subsidizing will only change from one hand to the other.
According to the recent UTA audit report, taxpayers subsidize 80% to 90% of all public mass transit in the State. Passengers are only required to pay 10% to 20% to ride. I found this 2012 UTA audit, requested by Utah Legislature that reports serious problems with every part of this government bureaucracy http://le.utah.gov/audit/14_06rpt.pdf. According to statute, Utah Code 17B-2a-815(2), all public mass transit is required to be ‘reasonable and result in enough revenue to make public transit system SELF SUPPORTING’ I read this as pay for itself through user fees and such with no tax subsidies to prop it up.
To make matters worse, this is all happening along side 241 Utah cities that have been signing individual city resolutions, encouraging the Utah League of Cities & Towns to lobby the Utah Legislature on their behalf. Cities are giving permission to find additional tax sources that will fund comprehensive transportation and can at their discretion under their local control for roads, public mass transit, bike parks, etc.
In Utah County, we have recently increased our sales tax 3 times
1st increase - .25% (1998) voter approved. Funds go to UTA
2nd increase - .30% (2006) voter approved. Funds go to UTA
3rd increase - .25% (2009) County Administrative Action.
The gas tax in Utah is based on user fee. Utah law requires that all gas tax revenue be used for roads only, no mass transit. User fees are fair because those who use the gas pay the tax. The problem with the gas tax is that the legislature hasn’t increased the gas tax since 1997, so it’s not enough and needs to be adjusted and tweaked every few years. The gas tax hasn’t been sufficient but the government had to bring in funds someway to pay for the roads so they have taken out of the state general fund, shorting other area, as well as opened tax revenue sources and most citizens have no clue. The fact these gas taxes can’t be used for mass transit is wonderful, because mass transit tax is not the proper role of government. Citizens need to contact their legislatures and city councils to move them to push to fix and fund the gas tax and defund the socialist mass transit taxes.
With educated citizens and elected officials, all will soon learn that the proper role of government is to protect, not provide. Government is only to clear the path so all private citizens and businesses can enter and provide the things that people want and need. We need to read and learn how to avoid Socialism and follow Constitutional principles in our cities, counties, state and nation and undo what has wrongly been done over the past 100 years.
Meet us at the Utah County Commission meeting to say NO way to the BRT this Tuesday, January 13th at 9 a.m. at the County Administration building in Provo, Utah. Take off work and clear your schedule or YOU will be forced to fund public mass transit.
Lisa Liddiard and Jennifer Baptista
Update On The PG City Road Funding
Last weeks city council meeting there was a discussion that took place during the final 15 minutes that gave us an update on the PG City Road funding issue.
To help you all get up to speed…….towards the end of 2014, PG City voted to join with The Utah Transportation Coalition (Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce) and the Utah League of Cities and Towns, to lobby the state legislature asking them to find different taxing ways so cities can fund their roads.
Each city was asked by the League to vote in a city resolution that would show those at the capital we want them to look at ‘comprehensive transportation funding’ options. The Coalition put together a ‘Transportation 2040 Plan’ that talks about those new taxing options.
Unfortunately, COMPREHENSIVE TRANSPORTATION is not road funds. It allows taxing the citizens to fund public transit (bus, train, commuter rail, light rail, bike parks and trails, walking paths)
Roads are funded by the gas tax, which is a user fee, those who purchase gas pay for the roads. The gas tax hasn’t been adjusted singe 1997 and is badly in need of an increase. Under Utah Law, gas tax funds can only be used for roads, not public transit. Over the past 20 years, our COUNTY has put in THREE new sales tax increases (.25%, .30%, .25%) that all fund public transit, not the roads. That is why our roads look so horrible.
What the League came up with was to start a FOURTH sales tax (.25%), controlled by the county, not the city, that will give most of these funds to public transit, and only a small amount to the cities to use for roads or public transit, if they choose.
They want to base the sales tax distribution to 50% point of sale, and 50% population.
There were many of us that spoke out at the city council meetings over this last year and we thank city attorney Tina Peterson who said she told the League that many in our city are NOT for a sales tax increase that funds public transit.
Unfortunately, the cities have been told if they don’t support the bills the League is trying to put through, then our city might not get a thing.
Public transit in Utah is over 80% subsidized through UTA. Anytime someone rides the bus or train, citizens pay over 80% of their ride.
Personally, I would like to push for a gas tax increase that funds ROADS ONLY, and to stop all public transit finding, now and in the future because public transit is Socialism and under our form of government, we are not allowed to tax the citizens to pay for someone to ride the bus.
Let the Citizens VOTE to FUND or NOT TO FUND
Orem-Provo BRT (Bus Rapid Transit System)
On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, our 2 of the 3 Utah County Commissions voted to start a new BOND and go into debt for a new secondary bus system that will cost taxpayers $150 million to build and millions more each year to maintain and service only a small route in Orem-Provo.
We want the citizens to be able to vote FOR or AGAINST this giant tax beast on the November 2015 ballot. Commissioner Bill Lee asked the other two if they would allow this to go on the November 2015 ballot and was told NO at the Tuesday meeting. So, now it’s up to the citizens to force it on the ballot.
We have 40 days to get 20,000 signatures and push a CITIZEN REFERENDUM, which gives this BRT decision back to the citizens. This is such a huge amount of money it needs to be a citizen vote.
Commissioner Larry Ellertson and Commissioner Greg Graves are FOR the BRT and said they do not want the citizens to vote. Commissioner Bill Lee is AGAINST the BRT and wants the citizens to decide.
The Utah County Repurican Party delegates already voted this year AGAINST THE BRT but that didn’t stop these two commissioners. They are intent to push it through.
The new bus system is called BRT (Bus Rapid Transit). Utah County majority use cars, not buses to get around and we have no need or want for collective public transit.
Here are some facts you need to know
• $150 million dollars just to build it. $75 million from the Federal Grant (a tax taken from our other pocket) and $65 million from a new Utah County Bond paid for on one of our county sales tax revenues.
• $65 million dollar Utah County bond loan will take 32 years to pay off and cost $105 million with the interest we have to pay.
• 85% subsidized with TAX funds to keep it going. Citizens who ride any public transit (bus, train, light rail) are only required to pay 15% of the ticket price; citizens are TAXED to pay the remaining.
• Services only a small route in Orem and Provo, but all county citizens must be taxed. The route will be from the train to UVU, MALL and BYU.
• Roads will be CUT UP and a separate BUS ONLY LANE will be added to the roads, no cars allowed to travel in the bus lane.
• EMINENT DOMANIN will be used.
• Current lanes will be NARROWED to make room.
• UTA will take control of the BRT System. UTA is currently in debt $1.9 BILLION DOLLARS and couldn’t bond for this and that is why Utah County has to bond. (Read the UTA audits done by order of our legislature by an independent firm every two years)
• Commissioner Larry Ellertson told citizens on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 that only 2,500 citizens ride the bus. There are over 500,000 citizens living in Utah County. The bus route we currently have is never full and yet we are making a new secondary one, going into debt to provide for 2,500 citizens? UTA has no way to provide accurate way to truthfully account for how many riders use our public transit systems.
Citizens, come learn about this referendum tonight, Friday, April 24th at 7 pm at the Boy Scout Building at 748 N. 1340 W. Orem.
You can sign the petition and pick up a packet and get 50 signatures from other Utah County Residents. We have only 40 days. All signatures matter and will force this to a vote of the citizens in November. If you can’t make the information meeting, find someone who has a petition and sign it.
Lisa Liddiard and Jennifer Baptista
Since when does a ‘Community’ mean taxing your neighbor to pay for your pool, golf and exercise gym pass?
Over the past several years, we have heard from some citizens trying to justify taxing their neighbors to pay for their wants or Amenities. They say…..
1. “Government providing these services are what makes a community.”
2. “The majority (or the minority who show up to vote) voted to tax and provide these services, so that means the majority wants them and we have to live with it. ”
3. “These services benefit all, even those who don’t use them, so we all must share the burden.”
4. “If our city doesn’t provide these services, people will not move here or they will shop in other cities instead.”
Let’s really break this down and get the discussion moving.
Here are most of the services currently under our CITY government control. These services are paid for by taxes, user fees or both...
A: Government roads, water, sewer, garbage, police, fire, court, administration,
B: City and school libraries, public/charter schools, and senior citizen center.
C: Government swimming pool, golf course, rec center (exercise gym), recreation programs, city parks, lions club, arts department (theater, music, etc),
I am sure I am missing a few things, but let’s just talk about what I have here.
Governments have many services that could fall under the proper role of government like in section A, the ESSENTIALS, because just about all citizens use these every day.
Section C is the WANTS or AMENITIES, as some refer to them. Citizens may use or not use, but all must pay either way. Some use the pool, others don’t. Some play in the park, others never set foot in them. Some exercise at the rec center, others have their own home gym or go to a private gym.
We have other areas like section B that might be necessary to some at certain times, but not all citizens use these services. Some attend home or private school’s some go to the public school. The younger citizens don’t use the senior citizen center.
We can see that taxes can be attached to section A, but how can we justify taxes to be used for section C? Shouldn’t section C be all user fee? Should we even have section C under government control? What about section B, would this be more equal and fair if we had these attached to a user fee?
While you’re thinking, let’s break down the statements we hear a lot lately.
Let’s take #1: “Government providing these services is what makes a community.” A government service makes a community? Are we a community right now with what is in government hands? If the majority show up and vote for more to be put into government hands, are we still a community? What services are allowed under the ‘community”? If you mean those already under our city government, A, B, and C.. does it stop there?
What about #2: “The majority (or the minority who show up to vote) voted to tax and provide certain services, so that means the majority wants them and we have to live with it. ”
What if the majority is allowed to vote to open a PG City fast food store and a PG City grocery store, both operating under city government regulation? The citizens who shop there pay two ways, a customer user fee and a tax subsidy to fill in where the user fees don’t cover. Those who choose NOT to shop at the government stores but stick with their choice of free market stores, are still forced to pay the tax subsidy…is that ok with you?
What if the majority votes to start a PG City gas station, car lot, car repair, or city bank ? Is it still ok with you that you are taxed for services or businesses you don’t use because the majority showed up to vote?
So where is the line drawn on what the majority can vote to tax the people for?
Let’s talk about #3: “These services benefit everyone, even those who don’t use them, so we all must share the burden.”
Says who? Can a person or a ‘majority’ tell someone what a benefit is to them?
Each individual gets to decide what a benefit or a burden is to them. No one has the right to decide for someone else. What is a benefit to one person, can be burden to another.
Finish with #4: “If our city doesn’t provide these services, people will not move here or they will shop in other cities instead.”
Prove it. Do we know what every person thinks and feels? Some people move here for the mountains, others for the neighborhood. Some because of the distance between work and home, or to be closer to family, or a certain school. People move here or shop in others cities for so many different reasons no one can pin point the data for 100% proof on anything.
I personally have never heard of anyone saying they are moving to PG City because they have a government pool.
Since we can’t prove this and people do things for their own million different reasons, it’s just not true.
Writing this is to get people to start a discussion and to look at things they see each day in a different light.
The Constitution and our Founding Fathers gave us the line in the sand. They have set up principles of what can go into governments hands in the first place and how much. America is suppose to be a Constitutional Republic form of government, but what we live under today in our city, state and country is far from what we were given.
How can we make sure that government treats all citizens equal under the law?
If we keep doing what we have been doing, how long before all services and goods are under the governments hands and we are living in full Socialism paying most of our paychecks to taxes with very little private property. Or worse, living under Communism with everything under government control and no private property at all?
It's voting time again......Where is the line in the sand for you?
TAX - TAX - and MORE TAX
New Taxes to remember..........
2015 State property tax increase - starts in 2016
Gas tax increase - starts in 2016
City storm drain bond - new bond coming 2016
ObamaCare tax increase every year and penalty fees
4000 N. Sewer connections and others added together - $2.2 million
City Storm Drain - $20 month over the next five years
City Drought Fee - .62 month
What is coming........
-City ROADS - We need $4 million a year just to make them OK, where is this coming from?
-City PIPES under the road - We need $3.7 million a year they are needing to be replaced because they are 50-70 years old. Where is the month coming from?
-City Public Safety Building Fix - $12 million to $19 million. This needs to be done....Where is the money coming from?
-City Public Works Site - $1.5 million if they fix it at the site it's at now. More if they move it. Needs to be done, where is the money coming from?
-Water Meters for the Secondary Water - $5.5 million where will the money come from?
-Water Tank for Walker Ridge for Secondary Water - ?? where will the money come from?
-Utah County & State Transportation 2040 Plan - need $700 billion for mass transit, new roads, bike parks and trails, etc. We do know in this plan is a 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th NEW COUNTY SALES TAX increase. How do we pay for this?
-AF Canyon Land Swap - $1 billion for mass transit up the canyon as well as they want our county to fund FIRE and EMT...where is the money coming from?
-City Bike Park and Trails - Getting an estimate now, where will the money come from?
And on, and on and on.
Remember we have National, State, County and City bonds, taxes and such already in place and so much more coming at us. Some pays for NEEDS, much pays for WANTS......
Lisa Liddiard and Jennifer Baptista
Under the Guise of 'We Need City Road Funds'.....But road funds will be very, very small, and mass transit UTA will get funded in the millions.
4th Quarter Cent Sales Tax (.25) will be on this November 2015 ballot for your vote...
Yesterday, two of the three Utah County Commissioners voted to put the new 4th quarter cent sales tax (.25) on this Novembers 2015 ballot. Now the people of Utah County can vote NO or yes. Commissioner Bill Lee voted NO but the other 2 commissioners Larry Ellertson and Greg Graves voted YES to put on the ballot.
We heard at the MAG - Mountainland Association of Governments (Regional County bureaucracy agency) 2 weeks ago that this was going to be a bad idea because the survey they sent out came back that over 70% of the citizens would vote NO. But they did it anyway and we are now on the hook to pay close to $400,000 tax dollars to pay for an out of year county vote.
We already have 3 sales taxes in place in our county that go to UTA for mass transit, and here is #4.
Here is how this sales tax will be calculated and paid out...
.10 - UTA for mass transit
.10 - Cities for roads or mass transit
.5 - Utah County for mass transit.
MAG has told us the PG City might get somewhere in the $300,000 sales tax for us to use for roads, but we as a county will pay out $10 million in mass transit because this bill HB362 combines UTA and mass transit with a tiny bit of road money to get a yes vote.
Watch out, Utah County and PG City is going to push this as 'we need this money for our roads'. Don't fall for it. We can pay for roads other ways in our city without taking on forced taxes for the corrupt and broke UTA
Get the word out for all to VOTE NO on this HB362 for a new 4th sales tax increase on the ballot in November.
PGVoices for responsible government following Constitutional principles. True Conservatives who stand for private property rights, limited government and a free market economy. This blog will be a combined effort to give you easy to understand researched local government information.