One concept of fairness is, “If you use it, pay the taxes.” If you eat, pay the sales tax on food. If you have five kids, pay the taxes to educate them.

A different concept says taxes should be paid by those most able to afford them. Fairness is derived from the fact that those who have the most generally benefit the most from the services those taxes provide. For example, an educated workforce is essential to big business.

Long-standing law has always supported government’s ability to tax those most able to pay, regardless of the perception of fairness.

But Utah is legally constrained by the income tax education earmark. Income tax can be applied most progressively, but cannot be used (directly) to raise revenue for any other purpose. Many people vociferously oppose changing this on the basis of protecting education funding. From a practical perspective, they need to ask themselves just how effective it has actually been. The highest income tax rate has steadily dropped, and the latest proposal would drop it again.

End the earmark to simplify the tax collection system. End the excuses to keep expanding the tax base. So that we can refocus our attention on spending, particularly on “property tax increment financing” that subsidizes developments and basketball arena improvements that should be financed by the free-market, not government.

Doug Kitt, Millcreek