McAdams’ campaign responds after Utah Taxpayers Association challenges property tax assertion

SALT LAKE CITY — A representative for Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams congressional campaign responded Friday to an assertion by the Utah Taxpayers Association that the campaign is misleading the public about McAdams’ property tax record.

“As Mayor, Ben worked with Republicans to balance the budget and lowered the county tax rate every year,” said Draper Mayor Troy Walker in one of McAdams’ campaign videos.

But a statement from the Utah Taxpayers Association says the claim is misleading.

“In 2015, Mayor McAdams and the Salt Lake County Council approved a property tax increase that raised $9.4 million in additional revenue for the county. According to the State Tax Commission, the rate for Salt Lake County, to generate previous year’s revenue, would have been set at .002261. The rate that was
adopted, to gain additional funding for the county, was .002371. For the McAdams campaign to claim tax rates have been kept down when there is a clear increase like this, is misleading,” the statement said.

A document on Salt Lake County’s website and attributed to the Utah State Tax Commission does show a year-by-year decrease in Countywide Property Tax Rates from 2013 to 2018 in Salt Lake County.

“As the State of Utah has shown, Mayor McAdams lowered the tax rate every year since taking office in 2013.  He has balanced the budget, with the Republican-majority County Council, including support from former Council Chair Steve Debry who called the Mayor’s last budget: ‘miraculous’,” a statement from McAdams campaign said. “McAdams has retained the county’s AAA bond rating at the same time providing essential public services county-wide and keeping taxes low.”

The Utah Taxpayers Association is headed by Howard Stephenson, a Republican state senator, but the organization says it has not endorsed a candidate in the 4th Congressional District race.