Press Release: Better Utah responds to tax reform draft

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 7, 2019

Salt Lake City, UT – Today, the Tax Restructuring and Equalization Tax Force released the over 100-page draft of the much-anticipated tax reform bill. The tax proposal includes restoration of the full sales tax on food, lowers the income tax rate, and proposes eliminating the tax earmark for education, among other things.

Chase Thomas, executive director for Alliance for a Better Utah, issued the following statement:

“We are grateful for the lawmakers who have taken on the herculean and thankless task of modernizing our state’s tax code. But on the whole, we are disappointed by the bill they have proposed and the poor process that has led to its drafting. 

“This bill leads us to wonder whether policymakers in our state truly understand the lived experiences of those living paycheck to paycheck, and those living in poverty. As currently structured, state coffers depend on sales tax revenue. But by increasing sales taxes on food and gasoline, lawmakers are proposing to make this already regressive tax even more harmful to those who need relief from the financial stress in their day-to-day lives. 

“Additionally, we continue to be concerned about future education funding under this proposal. Taking money from schools whose infrastructure is literally crumbling and whose employees are underpaid to pad the already full pockets of wealthy individuals and businesses is patently absurd, and also in total contrast to what polling tells us Utahns want. While lawmakers promise that public education will be ‘held harmless,’ we have yet to see any proposed alternative or stable funding mechanism and instead only see an $80 million hit to our children’s futures. 

“We hope the Legislature will reconsider the decision to take this on in a special session in December, and instead commit to a robust public debate during the 2020 General Session. The political interests of lawmakers who want to avoid tax reform in an election year should not outweigh the public’s interest in being able to scrutinize this major proposal during a general legislative session.”

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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.

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