Salt Lake County just passed one of the largest tax increases in county history. It comes during a pandemic, economic recession, and unprecedented unemployment. This tax increase alone will likely cause small businesses to close and people will lose their jobs. Taxes have consistently gone up in Salt Lake County but most services do not improve. We can do better, but how can we fix it? Here is my plan:
#1 Lead by example
Immediately upon taking office I plan to cut my own salary. I believe that you shouldn’t run for public office to make money. You should run for office to serve, make substantive change, then leave office to let a fresh pair of eyes take over. By cutting my own salary I am sending a signal to my staff and other departments that we are a team, that we are in this together, and that we can give more to the residents of Salt Lake County, with less. I believe that is what leaders do.
#2 Identify wasteful spending
Several Salt Lake County Council members last year identified millions of dollars in excess spending that can be reduced without significantly impacting the county government. With further examination there is likely much more. The county budget has grown by nearly 60% in just the past 5 years. That is unprecedented and very rapid growth. In a budget of over $1 billion dollars there is more than enough room to improve processes and save on costs. There is much that can be cleaned up, made more efficient, and reduced to keep taxes low and services high.
#3 Be Innovative and find unique solutions
In my current role as a city mayor I have been able to reduce taxes by over $1.3 million dollars each year while increasing the quality of city services. From water services, to our police department, and even our animal control services, by making key changes we have found ways to reduce costs and increase services.
We need someone who hasn’t spent the last decade in office to come in with new eyes to identify wasteful spending and fix the county budget. That is the type of innovation that we need in Salt Lake County.
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