Letter to the Editor: RAP-ped too tight; use of RAP tax in St. George

OPINION – When I first heard about the “RAP” tax I didn’t comment about it, not on my blog or even a Facebook post. Mostly because I didn’t see it passing in the financially principled state of Utah. Apparently I gave Utahns too much credit!

If you can keep track of the multitudes of federal government boondoggles and the consistent abandonment of economic theory, it’s not all that difficult to contemplate the possibilities of abuse in a his tax, hence my concern. Take the National Endowment of the Arts, it bestows taxpayer funded grants to many projects that the public would take exception. Many of the projects are downright disturbing.

Understand my objection is not with the content of the art work, I staunchly defend the artists right to make an offensive statement.

My criticism is the violations of fiduciary discipline and lack of taxpayer input. This style of spending is like buying a Mercedes and the dealer hands you the keys to a Kia, then having no place to complain. Any private entity operating this way would quickly go out of business and it should.

To quote Thomas Jefferson, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.” That is what is happening at the feeder level and now it could happen at the state level.

State, federal and city governments everywhere tend to have a spending addiction and do all they can to kill any criticism. The good news is that at the state level this is far more difficult, because the worst case scenario – as we have here in St. George – is laws being passed at the state capitol. In most states that’s only a few hours away driving, as opposed to traveling across the country.

The other problem, with the RAP tax specifically, was the lack of discussion of allocation of funds, the distribution was saved for a later date. Well, now is that later date. The projections from the taxes profiteers say that the $1 million annually, will not be enough. So far, $262,000 is planned to go to improvements to the Dixie Sunbowl; $2.3 million for building new soccer facilities and $1.4 million for a new pickleball court, both in Little Valley; and $290,000 towards the construction of a mountain bike course park. (See ed. note below.)

What about the baseball and softball teams? Why were they left out? In the end decisions were made through the practical means of the numbers of participants in each of the sports; with 8,397 involved in soccer, lacrosse and rugby, and 3,200 on baseball and softball teams. To be fair, their have been discussions on scaling back, such as using artificial turf for the soccer fields, with the estimated cost being only a little over a million. That’s where the good news ends.

Another issue is who benefits from all these new taxes, it appears to be only athletic children and their parents. How (are) art patrons benefitted by the Sunbowl renovations? Or how do childless adults benefit from a youth soccer field? Why is it fair for them to pay for such projects when the benefit (to) them is so unclear?

As always this is another typical government spending initiative, go full steam ahead without putting any thoughts into the ramifications.

As with all government spending – whether state, federal or city – the proponents of these endeavors need to be more upfront on where they are spending and why it’s necessary.

When the RAP tax was introduced, how many knew it would be spent mostly on youth athletic programs? Personally, I was always against this tax, because this is not for responsible government to get involved in. The RAP tax, so far, is showing signs of a looming train wreck of financial abuse. It was ill conceived and rushed through, with little though of utilization or impact, our own mini-National Endowment of the Arts.

If the $7 million that the tax is supposed to bring in is not enough, it’s the responsibility of the supporters of these causes to find private backers to furnish the rest, which (is) what they should be doing in the first place.

The public purse is not the personal credit line for artisans or parents (of) athletes for projects of aesthetic appeal and youth activities, and $7 million is more than fair. 

Submitted by R.C. Seely, St. George

Seely is a local author and blogger, his most recent book is “Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society.” His blog is americanuslibertae.com.

Ed. note: The cost figures stated in this letter reflect estimates for projects the City of St. George is considering, Assistant to the City Manager Marc Mortensen said. They are not definitive numbers as projects that may receive funding through RAP tax revenue have yet to be determined – except for the pickleball courts that are under construction and nearing completion. Prospective projects may include multi-use fields for the likes of soccer, lacrosse and rugby and a bike skills park, he said, but there are other considerations as well.

Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them; they do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News.

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  • fun bag September 25, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    well, to be fair these liberal/wasteful tax and spend policies are being carried out by the mormon republicans you guys voted in. Hopefully you wrote them a letter as well. Better yet, write the governor.. I’m sure he cares….

  • anybody home September 25, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    To quote Thomas Jefferson, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.”

    I’m opposed to war. Please refund any and all moneys I’ve paid to the government that go to support the military. Thank you.

    However, Mr. Seely, I do agree that spending most of the money on athletic projects is a distortion of the intent. The arts in St. George will always be the poor cousins.

  • fun bag September 25, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    And who doesn’t like choo choo trains?! If you don’t like it move to pakistan with all the other anti-america crew

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