Eliminating the Food Tax

If you read the Deseret News, than I am sure you were anticipating my discussion of the news that the food tax might be on it’s way out. And I am glad that the conversation is happening.

The basic discussion is that there are three proposals on the table. The non-food tax increase proposal (by House leaders Curtis and Urquhart) where the food tax will be eliminated and the tax on non-food items will be increased from 5.75% to 6.35%. This proposal will result in a $44 million tax cut for Utahns.

Another proposal is the one where no tax increase will be placed on non-food items and the food tax would also be eliminated. This is propose by Senate President Valentine. The net effect of this proposal is a $225 million tax cut for Utahns.

The next proposal is a $75 tax refund for the poor. This would only be give you those who qualify and they have to file income taxes in order to claim the $75. This is being proposed by the Governor’s tax force.

I would love to support the Valentine proposal, and it looks like next years budget could afford it. However, I am not sure that the state government can take that kind of hit.

Further, I am definitely against the $75 refund. It’s just another redistribution of wealth program. And we all know that there are enough of those.

So, that leave one more proposal. And I am not behind that either. Oh, it’s good, but it’s not good enough. Why do we raise the tax .6% and only save $44 million. Why don’t we shoot for a .3% non-food tax and save about $100 million. This would nudge is in the right direction and

Perhaps that’s the motives of Curtis and Urquhart. Perhaps they are proposing a higher tax in hopes of getting something in the middle ground. If that is the case then Urquhart will make a great Senator. Because that’s is one of the best ways to get what you want.

However, there is one problem. Even though we have a highly Republican legislature. It is not easy to get all parties on the same table. Often one side (sometimes both) refuses to budge and you end up with a stalemate. This is especially true in Utah, and it is especially true when it comes to tax cuts.

However, I am hopeful. This discussion has been long coming. And with Governor Huntsman having campaign on eliminating the food tax, and the legislative leadership proposing the same. It might be time for dreams to become reality.


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