words by ethel & paul

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(Please note: Utah’s tax is on FOOD, NOT “groceries”. To use “groceries” is a dishonest attempt to obfuscate and mislead.)

The tax on gasoline is a tax on the amount of gas. The sales tax on food is a tax on THE PRICE of food. As prices elevate, belts are tightened, and the cost of eating is taxed on a higher price.

There is always some phoney “justification” for keeping the tax on the price of food. One recent example: “Inasmuch as everybody continues to eat [oh?] the tax on the price of food is a stable, dependable revenue source for small-population entities”--going to the one that wins the ‘right’ to the funds.

Suggesting that the tax on the price of food should be retained for the sake of persons who have the luxury of living in a healthful, quiet environment is saying it’s okay to gouge the low-income workers to help those who are better off.

That’s not a new idea; it has been the system forever, and is why the poor are “always with us”: governments make sure they stay poor.

The tax on the price of food has ancestral decency. Sales tax was born in the pre-Social Security Thirties, voted into existence by The People. The State of Utah created (can’t coin) discs of aluminum, marked “1 mil” and “5 mils”--or was it ten? Later, aluminum was replaced by plastic, some orange, some gray. On all of these discs were the words “OLD AGE ASSISTANCE”. That is what the people of Utah voted for. We gave our samples to the late State Representative Sam Taylor, who couldn’t believe such a betrayal of voters’ intent.

Now, why should City dwellers continue to pay the indecent tax grab on the price of food in order to stabilize revenues in the cow counties where very little tax comes from purchase of food BECAUSE much of the food is raised at home, and some comes free from the famous Church Farms? It is easy to see why the campaign of the late State Senator Frances Farley, to end the tax on the price of food, won in Salt Lake County and lost in rural counties.

Hail tradition: Sock it to the poor. Higher proportionate taxes over all; the same tax on the old used car as on the new luxury vehicle; the less skilled, less cosmopolitan teachers for poor children; and more severe punishment for the same infractions.

Does anybody think we didn’t notice?

Ethel C. Hale and W. Paul Wharton