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Report: Taxes going up in large cities across Utah

Utah Governor Gary Herbert has called a special session of the Utah Legislature to address tax reform. (Photo: Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new report from the Utah Taxpayers Association says taxes in Utah’s major cities have gone up more than 2% since 2017.

“The Cost of City Governments” report found people in the state’s 50 largest cities paid $635 on average for local services in 2018, compared with $611 the year before.

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Utah Taxpayers’ Association

Salt Lake City, Bluffdale, South Salt Lake, St. George, and American Fork earned the distinction of “Worst 5” for charging their citizens significantly higher taxes than average.

Clinton, Bountiful, Roy, Kaysville, and West Haven were singled out for providing city services at much lower costs than average.

The watchdog says cities who offer more services in addition to police, fire, and roads, like swimming pools or arts programs, need more tax money. But Association Vice President Rusty Cannon said the goal of the report is to get them to think differently about how they provide them.

“A lot of services that are provided by cities could be better provided for or more efficient or cost-effective [if run] by private operators,” Cannon said.

He also worries about how high taxes could stall local economies.

“If a city is burdening taxpayers more heavily than others, they could see people fleeing that city for other places where their tax burdens are lower,” Cannon said.

The group puts out the report every year.