Monday, June 8, 2020

The Budget

Neighbors and Friends,

I am hopeful that you are well and safe.

2020 started with a major achievement. We worked together to block the 2019 Utah Tax Reform bill that the Utah Legislature passed and was signed by the Governor last December. In a little over a month we secured 170,000 Utah Tax Referendum signatures across 29 counties. We did this with thousands of volunteers, both liberal and conservative and everything in between. Because of our success, the Legislature and Governor repealed 2019 SB 2001 instead of facing the backlash of the voters this fall.

Since then we have been hit with a Pandemic, an Earthquake, Riots and more. Utahns are made of tough stuff, but many of us are asking what is next!

This last week County Mayor Jenny Wilson announced that the current county budget will be $70 Million to $100 Million short this year based on shutting down the economy because of the Pandemic. She outlined many cuts, such as $6 Million from the Sherriff and $1 Million from the clerk.

At this same Tuesday meeting, the county mayor also announced the county would need to borrow $70 Million so they would have enough money until the property taxes come in later this year. It is now “standard” for our county to do this, year after year. This year the notes needed may have been larger, but they did it last year, and the year before, as well. The request to borrow $70 Million using notes passed on Tuesday.

Last year, Mayor Wilson proposed what she called a “no frills” budget. The Mayor’s proposal sought to address “huge structural problems” facing the county after years of not capturing inflation despite economic and population growth, she said. The Council reduced the budget some, but it was still a $16 Million increase or about 8%.

You may remember that last December the County passed the property tax increase, so we are likely going to have larger property taxes this fall. The County budget is about $1.5 Billion, with a B.

This Tuesday, the County Council is expecting more details to further reduce this year’s budget.

Right now, one of the last things we should do is short the Sheriff budget enough to close one of the blocks at the County Jail. We need better and more trained officers, and every time a city or county reduces this area of budget and then raises it later as crime goes up, we get brand new police officers. Some of them turn out great, but others do not. With the current deaths and protests, this is going the wrong direction.

The $77 Million in tax cuts being proposed now is a band-aid. We need more on the County Council willing to solve this “structural problem”. I need your help in standing up to the mayor and the current bureaucracy.

You can start by calling the mayor and council members and telling them you want real budget reform.

You can also help this week for voting for me, Fred C. Cox, in the primary election for Salt Lake County Council District 2 that begins this week. If you do not get your ballot this week, contact the county clerk’s office. Ballots are due the end of the month, but you do not have that long to fix things with voter registration if there is something wrong.

I have had several town hall meetings, the last have been online. They are available to watch from links on my website.

You can contact me with ideas and questions, email is the best. It gives me information that I can follow up with

Fred C. Cox for Salt Lake County Council District 2
801-966-2636 (home)
Paid for by Fred C. Cox, Campaign Fund