Senate committee approves new tax cut bill

Jan 24, 2024, 5:52 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2024, 6:51 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers took the first step Wednesday toward passing another tax cut.

The Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee approved SB69, which would cut the state’s corporate and income tax rates from 4.65% to 4.55%.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Chris Wilson, R-Logan, passed with a vote of 7-1. It now moves to the full Senate for consideration. It would also need to pass the House of Representatives before heading to the governor’s desk.

“For Utah to remain competitive and keep and gain good-paying jobs, it’s important to cut income tax,” Wilson said. “By doing this, we are helping ensure Utah remains a great place to live, work, and raise a family.”

It’s unclear how much a typical Utah family would see in savings from this proposed tax cut. Utah Tax Commissioner John Valentine told KSL TV that was still being calculated.

It’s also possible the tax cut could grow or shrink as it moves through the legislative process. Asked about that Wednesday, Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said, “Stay tuned.”

“We’ll make a determination dependent upon our final budget. We will do it with an eye to the future,” Adams said. “We’re cautiously optimistic. But we’re going to make sure we do it right.”

Utah lawmakers have cut taxes several times over the last few years. Last year, Gov. Spencer Cox signed a series of bills to finalize a $400 million tax cut, including decreasing the state’s income tax rate from 4.85% to 4.65%.

Utah governor signs ‘historic’ $400M tax cut

Initially, Cox did not include a major tax cut in his budget proposal this year, but legislative leaders voted in December to set aside $160 million for one – even as income tax revenues came in below projections.

According to a fiscal note, SB69 is estimated to cost the state nearly $162 million in ongoing funding, with an additional $37 million in one-time money.

‘The goal is to veto nothing’; says Gov. Cox for 2024 session 

Senate Democrats oppose the proposed tax cut, Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, told reporters Wednesday.

“We think there’s a lot of needs right now, especially with housing, child care, and mental and behavioral health,” Escamilla said.

Jay Blain with the Utah Education Association urged the Senate committee to reject the income tax cut and instead focus on targeted tax relief. He pointed to bills cutting the social security tax, raising the age limit on the child tax credit, and making the earned income tax credit refundable.

Stefanie Jones, a staffer at Community Action Partnership of Utah, agreed.

“Take this extra money that we have been judicious with and give it to the communities,” she said. “Invest in programs that the least among us really need.”

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Senate committee approves new tax cut bill