A proposed bill that would loan money to Washington County to build the controversial 129-mile Lake Powell pipeline to St. George was put on hold in the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee. The Sales and Use Tax Allocations for Water Resources Funding bill would earmark 15 percent of future growth in state sales-tax revenues for water development. The money would not be given to water agencies but loaned with interest charged. Estimates for the Lake Powell pipeline range from $1.3 billion to $2.7 billion for construction alone. Opponents wonder how big projects such as the pipeline could realistically be paid for by water providers.
A group of economics professors from the University of Utah sent a letter to the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee about the bill and what they see as its economic faults. The committee asked staff to look deeper into the possibility of having private groups fund water projects in Utah and asked for reports to be presented in October. Salt Lake Tribune