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Utah sees big revenue jump — so is another tax cut possible?

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Posted at 5:54 PM, Feb 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-18 19:54:41-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Legislative leaders were surprised by another infusion of cash with hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue coming into the state.

The governor and Republican legislative leadership announced $432 million in one-time revenue and an additional $383 million in ongoing funds. It was welcome news, but political leaders cautioned it may not last should the economy take a turn.

"This is exciting on one-hand, but also scary on the other," said Rep. Brad Last, R-Hurricane, the House of Representatives' budget chief. "It kind of feels like a bubble."

With more money coming in, lawmakers have been inundated with funding requests. Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, the Senate budget chief, said it's double what they normally get. But with concerns the funding won't last (a lot of it is federal stimulus money), it may not be blown at once.

"We're going to be very conservative and try to manage our affairs well," said Senate President J. Stuart Adams, R-Layton.

The legislature has already passed an income tax cut. But lawmakers were criticized for not enacting deeper cuts. Rep. Last signaled they may not be done in an interview with reporters on Friday.

"A tax cut is certainly one of those things we could be and very likely will be discussing," he said.

Pressed by FOX 13 News if it was an income tax cut or whether the state might address eliminating the sales tax on food, Rep. Last replied: "Not sure I want to comment on that, I just want to say tax cuts are going to be a point of conversation."

Asked if eliminating the sales tax on groceries was under consideration, Rep. Val Peterson, R-Orem, told reporters: "everything is on the table."

But the Senate did not feel quite so bullish on that.

"This year I don't think it's on the table but hopefully next year," Sen. Adams said of future tax cuts.