SALT LAKE CITY — Visiting the elephants at Hogle Zoo, running on Big Cottonwood Trail, listening to the Utah Symphony or watching films during the Sundance Film Festival is in part facilitated by the Zoo, Arts and Parks tax.
The ZAP tax is once again on the ballot in Salt Lake County for the upcoming November election.
Every 10 years citizens have to decide whether to renew ZAP or not. The last time ZAP was voted on was in 2004, wherein it was approved by 71 percent of the voters.
ZAP tax funds are generated from sales tax on items purchased within Salt Lake County. For every $10 spent, one penny is given to more than 160 cultural organizations and 30 recreational facilities within the county.
Recent events that ZAP helped support this year include Body Worlds and the Cycle of Life, which was an exhibit at The Leonardo; free film screenings by the Utah Film Center; and the upcoming Jewish Arts Festival in November.
ZAP funds support all cities within Salt Lake County.
In Taylorsville, for example, several of the community programs and recreation facilities are funded using ZAP proceeds, such as Valley Regional Park and the Jordan River Trail.
“As we continue to enhance our community, we look for ways to provide cost-effective services. We believe that the ZAP program for Zoo, Arts, Parks and Recreation helps us keep this commitment,” the Taylorsville City Journal stated.
The partnerships that ZAP maintains with local organizations, such as Utah Humanities Council, allows us to present select events for the public that encourage literacy and cultural excellence and contributes to a positive difference in our communities.
–Greg Near, Public Relations Coordinator for Salt Lake County Library Services
"The partnerships that ZAP maintains with local organizations, such as Utah Humanities Council, allows us to present select events for the public that encourage literacy and cultural excellence and contributes to a positive difference in our communities," said Greg Near, Public Relations Coordinator for Salt Lake County Library Services.
However, there are some opponents to ZAP.
The Utah Tax Payers Association is one organization that has adamantly denounced ZAP throughout the years. The association believes that ZAP taxes set the stage for more taxes being introduced and, over time, taxes will gradually increase as more initiatives require additional funding.
“Utah should continue to lower the personal and corporate income tax rate. Utah should also simplify the sales tax by eliminating boutique sales taxes like the RAP, ZAP or CARE taxes across the state,” a media alert released by the Utah Taxpayers Association said.
Proponents of ZAP believe that the funds not only make Salt Lake County a more invigorating place to live, but also increase the economic growth throughout the county, from longtime residents to visitors who frequent the arts events and various parks.
“Arts, culture, parks and recreation are the cornerstones of the quality of life we enjoy here in Salt Lake County. ZAP is really all about you and your support for reinvesting a fraction of local sales tax right back into the local groups that entertain, inspire and invigorate our families,” Ben McAdams, Salt Lake County Mayor, said.