Utah lawmakers racked up results – but not on tax reform during the 2019 Legislature

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers took on tough tasks during a legislative session that ended an hour earlier than expected Thursday night, and racked up results on big issues, including limiting Medicaid expansion and enshrining hate crime penalties.

By the start of the third week of the 45-day session, a scaled-back replacement for the full Medicaid expansion approved by voters last November had been signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert despite protests from faith leaders and others.

Under the direction of new leaders in the House and Senate, the Legislature’s Republican supermajority shifted its focus to tax reform, but the bill that surfaced late in the session ended up being scrapped in favor of a tax task force.

HB441 would have extended sales taxes to a wide variety of services while lowering both the sales and income tax rates, options that will be on the table for a possible special session this summer, along with restoring the full sales tax on food.

Republican legislative leaders also wanted a $75 million tax cut as part of the tax reform legislation and have set aside that amount for an as-yet unspecified cut in the $19 billion budget for the spending year that begins July 1.

But Thursday, the governor told the Deseret News that a $75 million tax cut isn’t enough.

“I think there is an opportunity to still have tax reform, better tax policy, which will provide the revenues necessary to run the core services of government and still have the best environment for business,” Herbert said.

“I think if we do all that, there still can be a healthy $150 million to $200 million tax cut to the public. I think that’s possible,” said the governor, who proposed a $200 million sales tax rate cut as part of the tax reform plan in his …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Top stories


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