LOCAL NEWS

No Vote On Utah Tax Reform Amid More Questions, Complaints

Nov 26, 2019, 11:32 AM

Janalee Tobias waits to give public comment during a Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force ...

Janalee Tobias waits to give public comment during a Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force meeting in the House Building on the state Capitol campus in Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 25, 2019. Behind her in line is Greg Zenger and Stephanie Clancy. (Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A legislative task force in Utah has postponed a vote on state tax reforms that could increase tax cuts from the currently proposed $80 million to as much as $124 million, members said.

Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force members debated Monday a series of changes to the draft legislation to continue lowering income taxes while increasing sales and other taxes, members said.

About 30% of taxpayers would see an increase under the proposal, said Republican Sen. Lyle Hillyard, the task force’s Senate co-chairman.

“It just seems to me that we haven’t dug into the details of what’s being proposed,” nonvoting member Keith Prescott said . “We haven’t done any analysis. I think Utah deserves better than this.”

Legislature leaders warned earlier this year that slow sales tax growth was creating an imbalance in the state budget compared to the income tax, officials said.

“We don’t have a revenue problem. We have an allocation problem,” said Brett Hastings of Utah Legislative Watch.

Lawmakers originally looked at broadening the sales tax to include service-based businesses coupled with income and sales tax cuts, officials said.

The tax reform effort has shifted away from services and has since proposed increasing the sales tax on food and gasoline sales, while creating new earned-income and grocery tax credits, members said.

“The idea of cutting taxes by raising taxes does not make sense,” said George Chapman, a Salt Lake City advocate.

Another committee hearing was scheduled for Dec. 9, officials said.

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No Vote On Utah Tax Reform Amid More Questions, Complaints