The Utah Legislature begins its 2020 session on January 27th, and it lasts 45 days until March 12th.
Leading up to and during the session I want to keep you informed of the issues the Legislature will be addressing, as well as bills I am working on.
I will be holding a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, January 23, from 6:00-7:00 pm at Cherry Hill Elementary School in Orem. Please come ask me any questions you might have and give me your opinions and perspectives on the issues important to you. As always, I’m available via email, text, and phone to hear your concerns.
I take the trust you have placed in me seriously and will strive to do my best to represent our community.
I know that the tax reform bill has been fairly controversial, and that there is a lot of information flying around about it. I voted against it for a variety of reasons, but there are some parts of the bill that I strongly support, including:
- Creating the Social Security tax credit for low to middle income seniors
- restoring the child income tax exemption that was removed when the federal tax structure changed in 2017
- increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit for low income families, and
- removing many of the sales tax exemptions that no longer serve us
However, there were too many things about the bill that raised red flags for me, and I could not vote for it. Some of the most obvious are:
- It unnecessarily complicates the tax process, which should be kept as simple as possible
- It creates more reliance and dependency on government in the form of tax credits
- It creates burdens, financial and regulatory, for our most vulnerable households, and is based on assumptions and projections that are simply not true for many individuals and families. For example, it assumes that people on the margins will be able to overcome the barriers in place to apply or file for the food tax credit. It also assumes that the extra daily, weekly, and monthly costs to a household that is barely making ends meet can be remedied by a once a year tax credit.
- It expands the sales tax base without lowering the rate, which is a basic rule for good tax policy. It finances lowering the income tax rate by increasing the sales tax rate on food, which harms the most vulnerable
- It does not look at the Utah tax system holistically or provide a long term solution. This is a short term “fix” at best. There is further, more substantial, tax reform necessary to fix our imbalance, and this package just muddies the waters and puts the cart before the horse, if you will pardon my metaphors.
- This plan had the support of only 60% of the House, and many who voted for it had reservations. For major tax reform like this, we need to take the time to get it right so that there can be strong support from the legislature and from the public.
I hope to see you on Thursday at the Town Hall.