Update: Please read the comments at the bottom of the page. They should provide more clarity into the official stance of Representative Powell.
I had a conversation with a dear friend last night and she raised an interesting thought. She had heard Kraig Powell, who represents some of Park City in the Utah Legislature, on KPCW. Mr Powell was speaking about property tax equalization and how he wanted it overturned. Equalization is the concept where wealthier areas like Park City send some of their tax dollars to other school districts who are less fortunate. Essentially everyone in Park City HATES equalization because Summit County property taxes go out of the district instead of being used on our own children.
Yet my dear friend raised the question of whether Mr. Powell’s quest to end equalization is short sighted. Her argument goes something like this:
- If the Mr Powell ends equalization then each school district, including Park City, will have to depend solely on their own tax revenues
- The Park City school system will run out of the ability to raise tax rates to increase its funding in the near future
- If other areas grow around the state (like Orem and Wasatch County as expected), they could over take Summit County as wealthier counties.
- If equalization hadn’t been ended by Mr Powell’s efforts, we would have received some money from other counties via equalization, but since it is ended we are stuck with our own revenue
- With no ability to raise tax rates, the only way to grow property tax revenues is through growth.
- Growth means more housing and commercial developments which many people are opposed to in Park City.
- So, if you want to limit growth in Summit County and Park City, you shouldn’t be so quick to jump on the anti-equalization band wagon.
I don’t necessarily agree with her in the short-term. It would be very unlikely that in the next 5 years that Park City would swing from equalizer to equalizee… but 10 years… 15 years… maybe.
It’s at least worth considering.