Thursday, February 11, 2010

This annual report has a little spark

Few topics draw elongated yawns faster than "annual report." Although "revised policy" and "staff meeting" are worthy runner-ups.

While you may not keep the Utah State Tax Commission FY2009 annual report by your bedside, there is a boatload of information tucked away in the publication's 65 pages. This is especially true if you are . . .
  • an elected official
  • a tax policy wonk
  • a snoopy reporter
  • a number crunching public employee or
  • 'Joe Bag of Donuts' wondering what in the world happens to all your state and local taxes

The report's bottom line reflects national and local economies. The total net revenues collected by the Tax Commission fell 10.5 percent in the past year, a total of $800 million.

And what does that mean to Mr. and Ms. Average Utah? Fewer police officers, more kids in crowded class rooms, snow plows coming later than last year, larger potholes and longer wait times for basic public services.

If you peer closely you can see that Tax Commission employees are working harder and smarter with fewer resources. Here are a handful of examples:

  • The tax appeals staff has processed more than twice as many appeals this year than two years ago with the same size staff.
  • Our 24 certified Motor Vehicle Enforcement police officers recovered 597 vehicles last year. That's nearly a dozen vehicles each week.
  • The average wait time for customers in DMV lines is less than 7 minutes. Just five years ago it was nearly twice that long.
  • You probably received your state income tax refund back last year in fewer than 15 days after you clicked the send button.
  • The number of people registering their vehicles at one of our "On the Spot" jumped dramatically to nearly 400,000 last year.

There is also plenty of other information including a ready reference summary of major legislative changes, what income groups are paying the bulk of state taxes and how much sales tax revenue every dot on the map from Randolph to Blanding received.

For your reading your pleasure, you can find the Tax Commission annual report at Cuddle up with it and enjoy.

Peace, love and all that jazz,

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