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Quote of the Day: Real Salt Lake

Today's quote comes from Real Salt Lake (0-3-6) spokesman Eric Gelfand

"When people are properly educated that the hotel taxes are paid nearly 100 percent by out-of-towners, they are in favor of [tax dollars for Real stadium]".
Source: Deseret Morning News, June 3, 2007

In other words, people don't mind wasting tax dollars as long as the tax dollars are coming from out-of-towners.

Real's statement is seriously flawed because hotel tax dollars are our tax dollars no matter who ends up paying them, and government has the responsibility to spend these dollars as wisely as the tax dollars that Utahns pay directly.

Besides, a lot of tax dollars in Utah are paid by out-of-staters, including the following:

- Sales taxes paid by tourists, which currently go to state and local government general and transportation funds (according to Tax Commission estimates, tourists pay about 7% of all state/local sales taxes, or about $185 million in FY2006)

- About 75% of state corporate income tax, which goes to K-12 and higher education (total corporate income tax revenues were $380 million in FY2006 so 75% would equal $285 million)

- Severance taxes on metals which go to the state general fund (about $17 million in FY2006)

One could also argue that hotel property taxes are ultimately paid by out-of-state tourists even if the incidence is the hotel owner.

Bottom line: Utah state and local governments are missing out on an opportunity to waste a lot of tax dollars according to RSL tax policy.