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Group calls for deeper tax cut with Utah's $1.4 billion surplus

Posted at 1:37 PM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 18:22:48-04

SALT LAKE CITY  — A tax watchdog group is calling on the Utah State Legislature to enact deeper income tax cuts in the face of a hefty state surplus.

The Utah Taxpayers Association said the state has recorded a $1.4 billion surplus in July. With that much money, the group argues, it's time for lawmakers to cut taxes again.

"It’s the right thing to do for taxpayers given the situation everybody’s in right now. But it’s also good tax policy long-term. Lower rates are going to drive economic growth that we need to keep to keep the jobs in Utah," association president Rusty Cannon said.

He argued that with local taxes set to rise due to inflation and increasing costs for supplies, it is time to offer some relief.

"Taxpayers are hurting right now. Property taxes increases are coming as everybody knows right now. A lot of relief could be given," Cannon said. "The good news is is that there’s enough revenue to everything else gets funded. Education gets funded. Social services gets funded. But meaningful relief can be given to taxpayers over and above."

Cutting income taxes often raises the hackles of education groups and advocates for lower-income people because Utah's constitution is earmarked for education and social services. Cannon argued that those can continue to be fully funded, even with proposed cuts.

Lawmakers are expected to file a number of tax proposals in the 2023 session, including income tax reductions and property tax changes. One West Valley City representative has already proposed to eliminate the state portion of the sales tax on groceries.

Across the state, 90 different taxing entities are proposing property tax increases this year. FOX 13 News reported on 23 alone in Salt Lake County. Some have told FOX 13 News it is in response to inflation and increasing prices for services. Others are planning increases to fund major projects that are needed and increased public safety.

Truth-in-Taxation hearings will be held across the state starting next month.