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The Utah legislature’s latest version of that big tax overhaul is now public

Posted at 6:12 PM, Nov 22, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Legislature’s latest version of a major tax reform bill has been made public.

On Friday night, the draft bill was released ahead of a public hearing on Monday. Republican leaders on Utah’s Capitol Hill have been pushing for a special session to pass the bill next month.

Not a lot appears to have changed from a prior version. An income tax is proposed for Utahns, but lawmakers appear to have scaled back some of the services that would face a sales tax. Those services that will still have to impose taxes include alternative fuel sources, college athletic event tickets, housekeeping services, rideshare services, streaming media, car washes (unless it’s strictly coin operated) and “unassisted amusement devices.”

The food tax would be raised, something that has angered religious groups and anti-poverty advocates. Lawmakers have offered tax credits for those who might need it. The bill would repeal the sales tax on feminine hygiene products but impose an excise tax on diesel fuel and hike the taxes on rental cars.

In the latest draft, lawmakers propose removing an earmark from liquor sales for school lunches for needy children and underage drinking prevention programs. Instead, those would be funded from the state’s general fund. The HOV lane would still allow two or more people in a car, but move that to three people beginning in 2023.

GOP lawmakers have pushed tax reform arguing that revenues that pay for essential government services are declining as people purchase fewer goods and more services. But they have faced significant public pushback, especially over the food tax, repealing an earmark on the income tax for education, and a sales tax on services. An earlier version of the bill was forced to be pulled back earlier this year amid opposition from a wide variety of groups.

Monday’s public hearing on the tax bill starts at 5pm on Capitol Hill.

Read a draft summary of the bill here:

Read the bill here: