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City Government Takes $635 from Every Man, Woman, and Child on Average

According to calculations done by your Taxpayers Association, Utah citizens in FY 2018 paid roughly $635 of their income to city government, $24 more than the prior year. Utahns also paid $24.41 of each $1,000 earned by resident in their respective city, representing 2.4% of total taxpayer income. 

The Utah Taxpayers Association’s 2019 Cost of City Governments report, based on FY 2018 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.

Salt Lake City collects nearly $1,400 per capita in taxes and fees, ranking it the highest in the state. Salt Lake City taxpayers pay more than double the statewide average. In addition, this is roughly $200 more than the next city, which is Bluffdale. Bluffdale taxpayers pay $1,189 on in city taxes each year. 

On the other end of the spectrum, Clinton City residents only pay $395 in taxes per capita, coming in at the report’s lowest. Next lowest is Bountiful, whose residents pay $418. The Utah Taxpayers Association would like to thank the elected officials of both these cities for ensuring their residents are not overly burdened with taxes. 

D2019 CiOG Narrative-merged

Looking at another metric, Salt Lake City also ranks high in the amount of taxes and fees its residents pay per $1,000 of income. Salt Lake City residents pay $42.44 per $1,000 of income, which is nearly double the statewide average. However, South Salt Lake City ranks higher, coming in at $51.77 per $1,000 of resident income. 

The Cost of City Government 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 Salt Lake Valley Law Enforcement Service Area or the South Davis Metro Fire Department. 

These member cities may not have public safety services which come from the general fund, but their 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 is based on the taxable area in a city, then multiplied by that year’s tax rate. 

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.      

The report is chock full of helpful information in the upcoming Truth in Taxation process as cities look to increase property taxes. Included in this report is the cities’ tax rates (including public safety), government revenue from taxes and fees, and per capita income. 

To view the report, click here.  


One Response to “City Government Takes $635 from Every Man, Woman, and Child on Average”

  1. John Marc Knight says:

    You are freaking welcome. Jmk. Bountiful city councilman.

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