Press Releases

Libertas Institute Announces Lawsuit Against Pleasant Grove

Restraining Order Sought Against Illegal and Unconstitutional Transportation Utility Fee Imposed on Residents

Salt Lake City, UT (August 2, 2018) — Pleasant Grove was sued today by residents and business owners in the city, in a lawsuit brought by Libertas Institute.

The lawsuit seeks judicial intervention against the City Council’s passage of a new fee to fund road improvements. Libertas Institute maintains that such a fee is illegal based on Utah’s Constitution, state statute, and court opinions regarding how taxes and fees must be established.

“Pleasant Grove commissioned a study to try and determine how to do this, yet the Council has abandoned every recommendation in the study in their effort to enact this new fee,” said Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute. “The courts have established clear criteria to determine if a fee is justified—based primarily on whether the cost helps offset a service provided directly to the payer—yet Pleasant Grove’s plan completely violates these criteria.”

Courts in several other states have overturned similar transportation utility fees, recognizing what today’s lawsuit argues: because the government cannot quantify exactly who uses the roads how often and how much, general taxation must fund their construction and maintenance.

“While Pleasant Grove has several options to go directly to voters to seek a tax increase to fund these roads, the city has chosen an underhanded method to take more money from residents without going through the established political process to increase taxes,” Boyack said. “If city residents agree that taxes should be raised, fine—just do it the right way. That’s what today’s lawsuit demands.”

The lawsuit seeks various remedies, including a refund of money taken from residents, and a declaration that the fee is illegal and must be discontinued.

To access the Petition for Declaratory Judgment and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, click here.