State considering tax changes and a hike in the food tax

Stock image, St. George News

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

The warm glow of sunset falls on the Utah State Capitol Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Utah’s legislature is looking at a major state tax reform bill. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

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 5 p.m. on Capitol Hill.

Read the full story here:  Fox13Now.com

Written by BEN WINSLOW, Fox13Now.com

Copyright 2019, KSTU. A Tribune broadcasting station

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