Last Friday the State Legislature announced a proposal for tax reform by the two chairs of the tax reform task force, along with a stated intention to hold a special session before the end of the year to take a vote on the measure. The measure drew criticism from poverty advocates and concern from education experts about the impacts of income tax cuts on the education system.
Soon after the announcement, competing proposals were submitted by several other members of the task force, showing disagreement even within the task force about the best way to proceed on tax reform. The Deseret News Editorial Board published a call to slow the process and allow the public to weigh in on the complicated proposals.
This week, the first of three public hearings was held at the State Capitol, taking nearly five hours to cover the five proposals from the task force and hear public comments from members of the community and advocates weighing in with their concerns and suggestions.
Despite more comments asking for more time to debate and consider the various proposals, the task force suggested it would continue to push ahead with the goal of passing tax reform before the end of the year, pursuing the proposal put forth by the task force chairs with a few small modifications to remove the tax on feminine hygiene products and add a state earned income tax credit – policies that have been proposed by legislators for years to alleviate pressures on low-income Utahns and help lift people out of poverty. Yesterday, Gov. Herbert suggested that the effort is moving “in the right direction” and that he’d like to see a special session if legislators can agree on a proposal.
Two more public hearings will be held on November 7th and November 21st.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Listen to the recording of the Oct 22 Tax Reform Task Force meeting – Recordings are broken into individual audio clips for ease of use.
- Review the five proposals put forth during the Oct 22 Tax Reform Task Force meeting – Click the link and then select “Docs”.
- Check the Tax Reform Task Force’s legislative webpage for agenda and materials for upcoming meetings on Nov 7 and Nov 21, as well as to find audio of those hearings live or later.
- Attend upcoming public hearings on November 7 and/or November 21 at the State Capitol in 30 House Building (west building, basement level – map, driving and parking directions).
- Talk to your state legislators – Call, email or set up a brief meeting with your state representative and state senator to talk through your concerns, support or opposition to the proposal of the task force chairs. Find out who represents you and how to contact them at le.utah.gov.
- Write a letter to the editor or oped about the proposals, the process or what you would like to see lawmakers and/or community members do to create the best tax policy for our state. Use our tips on how to write an effective letter to the editor.