To: Rep. McKell, M.,
Subject: GrassRoots Weekly Update
Attachments: Sound_Legislation Prompts.pdf , GrassRootsUpdate2018-02-19_Update.doc , Body:
Committed to Promoting the Principles of Limited Government, Constitution, Representative Government, Participatory Republic, Free Market Economy, Family, and Separation of Powers
Thoughts on channeling tax-dollars from state coffers to local government entities
It is natural and understandable that a government collecting billions of dollars of taxes per year (and maybe capable of forcibly collecting even more) might be viewed as a possible source of help for a variety of causes. And frequently the state government is viewed as a source of monetary help to various local government entities—especially local schools and school districts.
The trend of ever-increasing funding to local government entities from state taxes is, however, problematic. If a local school district (or county or city) desires to increase spending on one or more items, then the district (or other local entity) should figure out how to do so in the most transparent and sensible manner possible, and shoulder the cost as directly as possible—hopefully only after determining that the benefits will outweigh the costs.
But there are often proposals to channel funds to local government entities from state coffers, thus making these proposals seem as affordable as a “free lunch”, or reduced-price lunch, to the local government entities. At least three such bills mentioned in this weekly update (and there are probably several more such bills):
- HB264, “Elementary School Counselor Program” authorizing the State Board of Education to award grants to local education agencies to provide targeted school-based mental health supports in elementary schools;
- HB293, “Education Funding Amendments” increasing taxes and spending by tens of millions of dollars in local schools; and
- HB326, “Intergenerational Poverty Initiative” channeling tax-dollars from state coffers to counties “to implement local solutions to address intergenerational poverty”.
The full cost of such programs is not fully understood, or worried about, by the local government entities running them. After all, much of the funding is not coming directly from them. Ultimately such methods increase social planning by distant bureaucrats, decrease accountability and transparency to the tax-paying citizenry, and compromise and distort local sovereignty and self-governance. In the words of former US Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson, “[N]o State or local government can accept funds from the Federal and remain independent in performing its functions, nor can the citizens exercise their rights of self-
conditions” (speech entitled “The Proper Role of Government”). The same could reasonably be said of local government entities accepting funds from the State.
HB293, “Education Funding Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Last, would be a major taxing and spending increase.
According to the fiscal note, HB293’s proposed tax law changes are estimated to increase tax revenues to the State by $36 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, $56 million in FY2020, and $126 million in FY2022. GrassRoots approves of a NO vote.
SB 136, According to the fiscal note for SB136:
- by means of various tax increases, the revenue to the state (mostly to the newly-created Public Transportation Capital Investment Fund, in particular) would increase by about $50 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, and by about $60 million in FY2020;
GrassRoots approves of a NO vote.
HB319, “Early Care and Learning Coordination Amendments”, sponsored by Representative Chavez-Houck. This bill appears to be a textbook example of how our growing welfare state is being shaped by groups of “experts”, bureaucrats, and special interest representatives with little or no accountability to the people. We should not be surprised when initiatives like this undermine our representative form of government. GrassRoots approves of a NO vote.
HB326, “Intergenerational Poverty Initiative”, sponsored by Representative Redd, would increase government spending by $1 million. GrassRoots approves of NO vote.
Additional details and bills are in the attached document.
Vice-Chairman, Bill Review Coordinator, Utah GrassRoots
Chairman, Utah GrassRoots