Categorized | Blog, Cost of Government



$611 of Average Utahns’ Income Goes to City Government

Utah citizens are paying roughly $611 of their income to city government, which is roughly $24.72 of each $1,000 earned by residents in the city.

This represents 2.4% of taxpayer income. The average cost of city government per $1,000 of income earned
by city residents increased $0.39 over the previous year.

The Utah Taxpayers Association’s 2018 Cost of City Government report, based on FY 2017 data, shows the relationship between city government revenue and citizen income in Utah’s 50 largest cities. This data provides a snapshot of on average how much of each thousand dollars earned by a citizen is consumed by the city government in Utah.

Utah cities also collect an average of $611 in revenue from taxes and fees per city resident, up from $578 the year before.

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The city in Utah with the highest cost of government is South Salt Lake, which takes $55.34 of each $1,000 earned in the city (or 5.5%). South Salt Lake collects the second highest amount of revenue per capita at $1,031.78. Salt Lake City receives $1,323.79 in revenue per person, ranking highest in the state.

The lowest cost city out of Utah’s 50 largest cities is Millcreek, which takes $9.88 of each $1,000 earned in the city. However, since Millcreek was incorporated in late, its tax revenues are somewhat skewed. For better reference, Cottonwood Heights ranked 49th, collecting $11.70 per $1,000 of citizen revenue.

The cost of city governments also doesn’t account for taxes and fees across other levels of government, but only shows the cost of the city government to residents. The only exception to this is member cities of public safety special districts, such as the Unified Fire Authority or the Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area.

These member cities may not have a public safety services which come from the general fund, but its citizens are still paying for these services. We have included the levy and revenue from these special districts in the total cost of city government.

This report uses two different metrics in determining the burden of city government on taxpayers. The first metric, revenue from taxes and fees per capita, shows how much revenue the city collects in taxes and fees per resident in the city. This figure is useful in comparing different cities and indicates the level of fiscal restraint exercised by elected officials in various cities.

The second metric, revenue from taxes and fees per $1,000 of citizen income, shows the individualized burden on taxpayers by controlling for income. This figure indicates how much a taxpayer’s consumption ability is impacted by the city government and illustrates the personal impact of government spending on individuals. Controlling for income does not justify higher government spending in cities with higher income residents.

To view the report, click here.



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