Lawmakers try again to eliminate food tax in current session

Feb 22, 2022, 5:15 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:48 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The push to end Utah’s food sales tax continued outside the state capitol building Tuesday, where a state representative and a handful of advocates said the time for the legislature to act is now. 

“I believe that it is wrong for the state to add an extra burden to those that are now paying the inflation cost of a gallon of milk,” said Representative Judy Weeks Rohner, R-West Valley City. 

Rep. Rohner sponsored a bill to eliminate the food sales tax last month, but it didn’t get the traction it needed. 

She now believes they have the support from fellow Republicans. She said legislators are considering a constitutional amendment that would put the question of whether to eliminate the food sales tax to voters. 

“Now is the time to do it. We need to remove that burdensome tax on food that affects every single person,” she said. 

Rohner urged voters to talk to their representatives and encourage them to get behind the effort. Two years ago, enough Utahns signed a petition to stop a bill that would have raised the sales tax on food. 

“Cutting the food tax would have an immediate and targeted effect that would help all Utahns, especially those who need it most,” said Bob McEntee, a member of the Utah Republican Party State Central Committee and one of the organizers behind the food tax referendum. 

This year, Governor Spencer Cox’s recommendation for a grocery tax credit hasn’t picked up enough support. But he did sign Senate Bill 59 this session which includes a $163 million income tax rate cut for all Utahns. 

“We understand there are restrictions in place that limit the legislature’s ability to cut taxes, but we are convinced there is a way to make it happen and that now is the time to do it.” 

The legislative session ends on March 4. 

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Lawmakers try again to eliminate food tax in current session