Biskupski challenges SLC mayor on sales tax, prison relocation

Posted at 7:36 PM, Mar 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-16 21:36:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Jackie Biskupski is challenging Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker on sales tax and prison relocation.

The former Utah representative has thrown her hat in the ring for a run for Salt Lake City mayor. During a Monday press conference, she said Becker is not doing enough to keep the prison out of Salt Lake City.

Biskupski addressed an increase in sales tax saying she thinks it’ll hurt the city’s residents.

She also questioned why the sales tax was tied to the prison relocation bill on the last day of legislation.

“The very last night of the session, a sales tax increase was inserted into the prison development bill, going around the committee process, public hearings, and opportunity for public comment or debate,” Biskupski said.

Biskupski is asking Gov. Gary Herbert to veto the legislation and questioned whose agenda Becker is pushing.

Becker’s office released a statement in response to Biskupski’s accusations:

“Today, Jackie Biskuspski issued unfounded and far reaching attacks against Mayor Becker and his approach to the prison relocation commission. Her remarks failed to acknowledge the important and critical work being done by the City, and instead became a campaign speech about politics over policy.”

Matt Lyon, Interim campaign manager for Becker for Mayor, issued the following statement:

“Jackie’s remarks today are clearly politics over policy. Mayor Becker’s opposition to and action on the prison relocation is well documented. There is also a long and detailed history surrounding the impacts of non-City residents on Salt Lake and ways the City can share those expenses among all users of the City, not just those who live in the City.

“The Mayor considers Jackie a friend and colleague, and is appreciative of their long working relationship dating back to when they both served in House Minority Leadership. While we are are disappointed in the tone Jackie is taking in an attempt to advance her campaign, the Mayor is happy to see her weighing in for the first time on this important and complex issue.”

There is also a long and detailed history surrounding the impacts of non-city residents on Salt Lake and ways the city can share those expenses among all users of the city, not just those who live in the city.

Officials with the Mayor’s office say they continue to push back on prison relocation and sales tax issues associated with the move.

“I think Jackie doesn’t understand the dynamic of Salt Lake City`s economy,” said Jill Remington Love, director of Community and Economic Development. “If we were just to raise property taxes, that effects our residents directly. If there was a sales tax, that effects people visiting the community. And one point I want to make about sales tax, it would not tax food.”

Becker said the approved sales tax increase would only effect the community where the prison is relocated.