FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 22, 2019
Salt Lake City, UT – After the Tax Restructuring and Equalization Task Force committed a “Friday news dump” by releasing the latest version of its tax reform proposal late in the afternoon today, Alliance for a Better Utah’s executive director, Chase Thomas, issued the following statement:
“As we’ve known all along, tax reform is an extremely complex issue that takes time to get right. We are glad to see that the task force is continuing to refine its proposal, even if most of the negotiations are being conducted behind closed doors among the House and Senate GOP. While the vast majority of this lengthy bill would serve our state well, troubling aspects continue to persist through each draft.
“We can have a tax code that sufficiently funds our government and maintains a welcoming business climate without adding obstacles for low-income individuals and families. As we move our tax system forward to adapt to our modern service-based economy, there is no reason that we need to move backward at the same time by making basic necessities more expensive. Despite claims to the contrary, raising the sales tax on food and fuels is not the only way to solve our revenue imbalances. Those in the majority party have made conscious decisions to prioritize their interests in this manner and financially disadvantaged Utahns got the short end of the stick.
“We are also still concerned about the future of education funding under this proposal. The most glaring omission in the summarized bill is lawmakers’ proposal to dispose of the constitutional guarantee of income tax revenue for our public schools, even though lawmakers continue to negotiate with this piece behind-the-scenes. Coupled with a dramatic decrease in the income tax rate, the future of our children’s education continues to be dimmer than the bright future we could achieve with further investments in our schools.
“Tax policy can benefit individuals and families just as much as it can harm them. The way we structure our tax code can lift a person or business to new heights or it can be the hand that holds them down. The path we take as a state comes down to our priorities and values. We need to get this right.”
Alliance for a Better Utah is a nonprofit that holds politicians accountable and advocates for progressive policies that make Utah an even better place. The organization improves the lives of all Utahns through advocacy, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.