Legislative leadership recently released a draft proposal for tax reform that includes a proposal to increase the total sales tax on groceries in Utah from 3.0 percent to 6.1 percent. However, Utahn’s overwhelming oppose the Sales Tax on Food. Why?
Food taxes hurt low-income households because an inability to pay household costs increases food insecurity (based on an Auburn University study, Utah’s food insecurity rate could increase by 1.8 percent in non-SNAP eligible households). In other words, a food tax is a moral problem.
Utah’s tax reform task force’s tax proposal attempts to mitigate the regressive impact on Utah’s low-income families by creating income tax credits and exemptions that will be available for some families. It would take some time, and serious accounting skills, to figure out how many low-income families would benefit from these provisions and how many would not benefit.
Furthermore, low-income Utahns are already faced with skyrocketing rents that grow much faster than wages. These working families are struggling on a week to week basis to afford food and cannot afford to wait until tax day to potentially get relief from a food tax hike.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Sign this Petition to tell legislators to oppose a food tax hike.
- Ask your state legislators to request an analysis of the impacts of a food tax and the proposed tax credits meant to mitigate the problem BEFORE conducting any votes on the package to understand the true implications of this policy proposal on our most vulnerable residents. Call, email or set up a brief meeting with your state representative and state senator to talk about your concerns with the food tax hike. Find out who represents you and how to contact them at le.utah.gov.
- Attend two upcoming public hearings on tax reform and make public comments about the proposed food tax hike. Public hearings will be held on November 7 and/or November 21 at the State Capitol in 30 House Building (west building, basement level – map, driving and parking directions). 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.