Salt Lake City, UT – One second into the new fiscal year, at 12:00:01 am on July 1, 2008, and the state of Utah will have already spent over $363 of your tax money. By the end of the day it will have spent over $31 million of tax revenue. To put this spending in perspective for the average person, it would take only 19 days to buy every Salt Lake County adult a new $800 high-definition television.
“During an economic slowdown, the state is still increasing its spending at an alarming rate,” said Paul T. Mero, president of the Sutherland Institute. “Money doesn’t grow on trees; there are trade-offs for every tax dollar collected and spent…which, collectively, amount to a trade-off between freely-made personal decisions vs. government-made decisions about our personal lives.
The Utah State Spending Clock, which can be found on Sutherland Institute’s homepage,www.sutherlandinstitute.org, is now ticking at $363 per second. This spending clock shows the amount of taxpayers’ money the Utah state government will spend through the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2009. Utah’s new budget will be nearly $11.5 billion for the year, an increase of more than three quarters of a billion dollars in new spending that state legislators approved for fiscal years 2008 and 2009. Since Governor Huntsman took office, the state has increased its spending by 29 percent after adjusting for inflation. In contrast, Utah’s annual cost of living increases have hovered around four percent in the last decade.
“President Reagan once commented, ‘Man is not free unless government is limited. … As government expands, liberty contracts,’” Katie Christensen, Sutherland’s manager of public relations, wrote in an opinion-editorial that appeared in the Deseret News on June 29, 2008. “Either Utah taxpayers are overpaying for government or that 29 percent means the government has significantly grown.