Survey says majority of Provo voters would approve RAP tax

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Bicentennial Park in south Provo is one of the parks that would benefit from a RAP tax. (Photo courtesy Provo city)

Bicentennial Park in south Provo is one of the parks that would benefit from a RAP tax. (Photo courtesy Provo city)

If Provo’s city council decides to put it on the ballot, more than 70 percent of voters would approve a slight sales tax hike to fund recreation, arts and parks.

The city council commissioned Y2 Analytics to do a survey on the RAP tax two weeks ago and received the results on Tuesday. The company emailed 15,450 registered voters in Provo, with 1,164 people responding but 1,069 completed surveys — a 7 percent response rate — which is “not too shabby,” according to BYU professor Quin Monson, who oversaw the survey. Of the 7 percent of Provo voters that responded, 71 percent support the tax. The survey was weighted for gender and age, and ran from July 15 to midnight on July 20.

An earlier survey in the spring with a hypothetical question about a RAP tax, which would add 1 cent of sales tax to every $10 spent in the city, showed 74 percent of Provo voters supported it. In Utah County, Orem and American Fork collect versions of the RAP tax. If approved, Provo would collect an estimated $1.2 million per year from the tax.

This survey was specific about the RAP tax and funding, and measured what would make people more likely to support the proposal, Monson said. The top three things — they tied— that make voters more likely to approve the tax are:

  • A statement about people from outside Provo supporting recreation, arts and parks in the city through their purchases in Provo;
  • Repairs and improvements to the Provo River Parkway Trail;
  • Quicker improvements (replacing aging playground equipment, bathrooms) or completions of Provo parks.
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Survey says more than 70 percent of voters would approve a slight sales tax hike to fund recreation, arts and parks. Click to expand the infographic. (Image courtesy Provo City Council)

“Talking about it in terms of parks upgrades and the river trail is the way to people’s hearts on this,” Monson said.

Survey respondents also liked the idea of more funding for cultural events at the library, he said, as well as funding for museums and music festivals or shows. And at the bottom of the list — funding for dance companies and the Rooftop Concert Series, which may have ranked so low because 76 percent of the respondents didn’t know what it was.

The survey also asked how the city should allocate funding to recreation, arts and parks without the RAP tax and with the RAP tax, and the answers came out the same — 41 percent to parks, 39 percent to recreation and 20 percent to arts. The city now funds parks at 45 percent, recreation at 46 percent and arts at 9 percent.

Provo’s parks and recreation board has recommended that the council put the issue on the November ballot and spend the majority of money on parks and recreation. If approved, voters would have to renew the sales tax every 10 years.

Provo will have booths open this month for residents to learn about the RAP tax and budget items, like a proposed property tax increase and utility rate hike:

  • Wednesday, July 22: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Provo Recreation Center, 320 W. 500 North
  • Monday, July 27: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Provo Senior Center, 320 W. 500 North
  • Tuesday, July 28: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Provo City Center, 351 W. Center St.
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Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

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