Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for September 21, 2011
Taxpayer Association appeals commissioner salary hike
On September 19, the Taxpayer Association of Kane County submitted an appeal to Kane County of the recent decision by the Commissioners to almost double their salaries and give large salary increases to other county elected officials. At a September 6 town hall meeting the commissioners waited until after 10 p.m. when most people had left the meeting to vote in their 85% salary increase.
At the same meeting, it was announced that our county will probably be losing over $1 million of federal revenue next year, resulting in cuts in services and increased taxes for families and businesses. Taxpayers throughout the county are seriously questioning the wisdom of these large salary hikes.
The two commissioners who voted “yes” on the decision, Dirk Clayson and Jim Matson, campaigned on a platform to lower taxes less than a year ago when they were trying to get elected. Now they want taxpayers to double their salary.
The Taxpayer Association believes that these large salary increases are financially irresponsible. Local property taxes have more than doubled in the last five years and the additional salary expense will lead to more even taxes and financial stress for businesses and families.
In the United States, families have lost about 20% of their net worth over the past three years and the median wage has dropped 6.5%. Men are now earning what they earned in 1976 in inflation-adjusted dollars. The TPA believes that it is an injustice to the taxpayers of Kane County to grant large government salary increases at a time of economic hardship.
In the appeal, the Taxpayer Association has asked the Kane County Commissioners to consider four separate causes of action, and to rescind the decision to grant large salary increases at this time. The association also requests that the commissioners honor the needs of Kane County citizens, families, and businesses whose property taxes have more than doubled in the last five years.
The following is a summary of the Appeal of the Decision to Increase Salaries of the Kane County Commissioners and Elected Officials:
The First Cause of Action states that the commissioners failed to involve local taxpayers in the decision to grant these very large salary increases. Taxpayers were not given an adequate opportunity to view the issues and give input on the decision. The commissioners had made up their minds to double their salaries before telling the public of their plan.
The Second Cause of Action states that the decision to increase salaries contradicts what Kane County residents have been told by their commissioners. Our three current Kane County Commissioners (Doug Heaton, Dirk Clayson and Jim Matson) have each stated publicly that they intend to lower county property taxes. These large salary increases will serve to increase taxes. The decision under appeal clearly runs against what our Kane County Commissioners have stated publicly as a major goal of their duties as county officers.
The Third Cause of Action states that instituting large salary increases during a serious economic downturn is irresponsible. Working families, business owners, and people on pensions and Social Security in Kane County are not receiving large salary increases this year. State and local governments throughout the United States are instituting large cutbacks in their expenses in order to cope with the prolonged economic downturn in our country. Kane County needs to do the same.
The Fourth Cause of Action states that these large salary increases will end the tradition of public service in Kane County leadership. From the beginning, Kane County has been governed by local citizens who have valued public service over personal gain, and have felt it an honor to contribute to their community. Doubling the commissioners’ salaries will pave the way for career politicians to be running our county.
This decision needs the full input of local citizens, families, and businesses who would be subject to the leadership of career politicians and would be paying for these increased salaries every year from here on out.
The Taxpayer Association is encouraging local citizens to contact the county commissioners. It is important for local taxpayers to speak out about this decision to grant very large salary increases at a time when Kane County is expecting to lose over $1 million dollars in revenue in 2012.