Tax burdens for the average Utah property owner have become increasingly heavy in recent years – and they’d be heavier still if it weren’t for the big percentage of the total tax paid by owners of commercial and industrial property.
According to studies by the Utah Foundation, private tax research organization, owners of business and industrial property paid $115,035,838 or 47.90 percent of Utah’s property tax bill in 1976.
Shares of the state property tax total of $240,134,711 paid by other categories follow:
Residential owners, $92,566,745 or 38.55 per cent of the total; motor vehicle owners, $16,764,980 or 6.98 per cent; agricultural, $12,055,474 or 38.55 per cent: and other property, $3,711,674 or 1.55 per cent.
In some counties the share of the burden borne by business-industrial property far exceeded the state average. For example: San Juan, 88.42 per cent; Uintah, 62.55; Grand, 65.85; and Carbon, 69.84. In Salt Lake County it was 50.28 per cent.
While the state’s biggest property tax burden was carried by business and industrial property, it was the residential property which ranked No. 1 in Utah County last year. Residential owners paid $12,483,352 or 52.3 per cent of the total of $23,851,715 charged by all units of government in the county. It was a year of sharply-rising taxes for many, largely a result of the tax assessment reappraisal in this county.
Commercial-industrial property ranked second, $8,377,982 or 35.1 per cent. Motor vehicle owners were charged $1,490,655 or 6.2 per cent; and agricultural property $1,415,815 or 5.9 per cent.
Weber County, the states third largest county population-wise (ranking just below Utah County) had similar figures on breakdown of the property tax burden, with residential property leading ($10,549,067 for 50.03 per cent) and commercial-industrial property next ($7,391,661 for 35.05 per cent).
Among other facts turned up by the foundation: About three out of every five dollars in property taxes collected in Utah go for support of schools; special improvement districts have had the largest percentage of tax increases in the last 10 years, rising 274 per cent; for the same decade, increases for counties amounted to 119 per cent; schools, 78 per cent; and cities, 74 per cent.
One more item: The foundation noted there were 425 different governmental units in the state that had the authority to impose a property tax in 1976. That’s a lot of taxing power, illustrating once more the need for restraint and sound economic practices by those officials who set the mill levies.