Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Why I don't C.A.R.E.

Today is election day. One of the big items on the ballot (ok, one of the few items on the ballot) here in Orem, is a request to enact the ZAP tax. To my understanding, the ZAP tax was approved by the state legislature to allow cities to enact a sales tax to support zoos, museums, parks, and the arts. So Orem wants to enact the tax, it's a .01% increase. It was originally packaged as RAP and now as CARE.

I'm opposed. Here's the reason. If the money were going for parks, bike trails, and a children's museum, I'd be much more likely to vote for it. However, there is the looming specter of a new cultural arts center, theater groups, and ballet.

The cultural arts is just one area where I have no interest. I will attend a play or concert basically only if a friend invites me or if someone I know is in it. From what I've seen on the news in other cities (this is just my impression and not based on any facts), cultural arts centers are a major money sink. Construction projects like to go over budget and then what are we going to do with the thing? The fact is there are many theaters with in an hour's drive of Orem, and even some theaters in Orem. Why we need more I don't know. There are plenty of concerts available for free and for fee in Salt Lake City and at BYU.

Of course, some people will argue that all the arguments I just made would equally apply to parks and museums. Honestly, the main difference is that I would use parks and museums and enjoy having them close by. I've been wanting a low cost museum in Orem for quite a while, somewhere to take the kids (besides the mall) that is warm and dry in the winter. Plays/dances/concerts only start at certain times and usually would prefer you leave your kids at home. Hmm... if they built a children's museum with an attached theater, they might get me :)

The other reason I oppose the tax is there is a good possibility there will be an upcoming tax to support road improvements which are obviously needed. I'm not sure how many taxes I want to deal with.

Update: CARE passed. Oh well, maybe we'll get some good bike trails and a children's museum out of it.


jpstanley said...

Actually, it's 0.1%, not 0.01%. And, unfortunately, it looks like it's going to pass. The only thing more annoying than paying for the arts center will be reading the C.A.R.E. lobbyists' smarmy press release about how this will brighten Orem's future, etc. etc.

Shelly Astle said...

Rachel, you make good points. Another reason to be opposed to the tax is the fact that if the gov't wants to be able to provide these great kinds of services, they should budget better. Not that I know the specific budget details of Orem or Utah, but my guess is that there are plenty of areas of wasteful spending that could be trimmed. Before taxes are proposed, I think cuts in other areas should be considered. It's not that I am opposed to money for the arts. I'm just saying if I want more money to do something, I don't usually go to my employer and demand a raise, instead I reprioritize my expenses - gov't should do the same.