Follow the money and see where it goes

Students discussed taxes and student fees Wednesday at Pizza and Politics in the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service.

The topic, “What’s Not in Your Wallet,” addressed taxes, including how they function in society and influence lives. Discussion leaders Kenten Pope and Zach McNaughtan showed a video that explained the current taxation system, providing a graphic breakdown of how tax revenue is spent.

Discussion leaders prompted audience members to discuss how they think tax revenue should be allocated. They then showed a video explaining the progressive tax system before asking audience members if they agree with the current progressive tax system or if they favor a flat tax system.

Brant Parker, a master’s of accounting candidate from Page, Arizona, said the progressive tax system isn’t fully understood by most Americans who don’t realize the loopholes involved. Parker, who is part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, said the stated rate is not consistent with the average rate people actually pay.

“In reality, there are so many loopholes,” said Parker. “If you can afford to hire someone, you won’t have to pay the stated rate.”

Then audience members talked about whether or not the United States should raise taxes on those whose income falls in the top one percent of annual earnings.

Truman Smith, a senior marketing major from Salt Lake City, brought up a law of economics called diminishing marginal utility and said that, economically, it makes sense to raise taxes on the top one percent.

“It makes sense to have a progressive system where the people at the top are taxed more because, economically, it could be stated that their money is less valuable to them than to someone that has a lower income,” Smith said.

The topic then switched to student fees. Audience members shared their opinions on SUU’s student fees and the way they are spent.

Students talked about the amount of student fees put toward athletics and whether or not students should be required to pay this fee even if they don’t plan on attending athletic events.

Some said students should be required to pay the fee regardless of whether they choose to participate in athletic events or not, pointing out that oftentimes people neglect to acknowledge the role that athletics plays in student recruitment, campus culture and student life.

Student Body President Tyler Cornia encouraged students to vote in the upcoming SUUSA elections because the student body president will determine who will have a say in how student fees will be allocated.

“The student body president is in charge of forming the committee that goes over student fees every year,” Cornia said. “So your vote directly affects what happens with these student fees.”

Pizza and Politics covers a new topic every Wednesday at noon in the Leavitt Center.


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