Concerns over the state’s loss of PILT funding (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) are based on principles of fairness ("Congress’ budget deal could cost Utah counties $35M," Tribune, Jan. 14). Federal ownership of land compromises the state’s property tax base. PILT funds recognize lost property taxes as well as the state’s burden to provide services for tax-exempt federal properties. However, where is this same sense of fairness when it comes to local communities?
South Salt Lake is home to two county jails, a youth detention facility, Granite School District offices and support operations, Salt Lake County Emergency Operations Center, a garbage collection transfer station, Roper rail yards, Central Valley Water reclamation plant and UTA facilities.
These tax-exempt properties represent more than 30 percent of the city’s land area. Most are in prime locations.
The city cultivated a robust sales tax base to compensate. But, while PILT principles seem to apply here, instead, the Legislature cut the city’s share of sales taxes twice over the years. The only relief has been a temporary floor on sales tax revenues and temporary authority to increase the sales tax rate, both set to expire soon. If PILT is fair for the state, why isn’t it fair for South Salt Lake?
William F. Anderson
Former City Council member
South Salt Lake
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