I am troubled by Royce Van Tassell’s latest defense of the taxpayer ("Latest UTOPIA Proposal," Tribune, May 4). He details two paths to lead us to gigabit Internet service. One is to simply wait, and the ever-evolving business sector will provide. The UTOPIAn alternative is for member cities to "upgrade and maintain it themselves" and "the most likely outcome is a huge increase in the burdens taxpayers will pay."
Although I’m not a proponent of UTOPIA, I’m sure we all understand that whether gigabit Internet service is created by private enterprise or through public partnerships like UTOPIA, it won’t be free. Either way, we are going to have to pay for it.
But, beyond that, I object to using "taxpayer burdens" as a hammer to pound away at the government boogie man. The constant vilification of taxes as onerous burdens undermines our appreciation of the good that comes from them. Police, fire, roads, sewers, garbage collection, public education and recreation are but a few of many tax-supported societal benefits.
Certainly, we need a healthy skepticism to contain government excesses. But, the constant haranguing of taxes is an unhealthy, demeaning distortion of a necessary, if contentious, means to improve our lives.
South Salt Lake
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