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Arts, Culture & Religion

Free ZAP Day at Living Planet Aquarium Spotlights Ballot Issue

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File: Loveland Living Planet Aquarium

The Zoo, Arts and Parks or ZAP Program is up for renewal on the General Election Ballot in Salt Lake County. A penny from every $10 spent in the county goes to nearly 200 public arts, education and recreation venues located all over the county. The fate of similar tax plans will also be decided by voters in Davis and Cache Counties.

To show its support of the ZAP Tax, The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Draper had a free ZAP Day Tuesday.  Suzy  Broadbent is the spokeswoman for the Aquarium. She says the free pass day is a way to thank the residents of the valley for their support of ZAP.

“What people may or may not know is a huge part of our organization is our education program. We go out and visit every second and fourth grade class in the state of Utah every single year as well as bring in tens of thousands of classrooms for field trips on site," says Broadbent. "So ZAP helps us fund that.”

Billy Hesterman is the Vice President of the Utah Taxpayers Association, which opposes the ZAP tax in Salt Lake County and the similar RAP Taxes in Davis and Cache Counties. He says the Association recognizes the popularity of the tax.

“What we’d like to see maybe ten years from now is a conversation of, ‘if we’re going to put this tax in, let’s at least include maybe a release valve of some kind so that when, if we see an economic downturn, lawmakers can then drop on that money to help provide essential services instead of having to raise more taxes,’” says Hesterman. 

He says this boutique tax is also unfair to private recreation, arts and entertainment venues that compete for the same local dollars.

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