While much of the attention from the 2020 election was drawn nationally, there were many important tax issues that voters weighed in on.
Your Taxpayers Association weighed in against a proposition in Kaysville to create and fund a municipal fiber network within the city. The residents of Kaysville appear to have voted down the proposal to have the city issue $22 million in debt to finance the buildout. Kaysville already enjoys 99.6% broadband coverage by private industry and ranks 11th best in the state on that metric.
The no votes on the proposition are 8855 (50.8%) against to 8570 (49.2%) for.
Constitutional Amendment G
The Association also strongly encouraged voters to approve Constitutional Amendment G, which would expand the uses of Utah’s income taxes to include spending for children and people with disabilities.
The measure, along with its implementing legislation, HB 357 (2020), would move education funding (about $3.4 billion initially) into a constitutionally protected account which can be used only for K-12 education. It also guarantees that education funding will automatically be increased to cover the costs of enrollment growth and inflation. No other state would have such guarantees for future funding of their children’s education.
To learn more about Amendment G and HB 357, click here.
Amendment G passed with 53.68% voting for it, and 46.32% voting against.
West Weber Incorporation
Voters rejected the incorporation of an unincorporated area of West Weber County. This area enjoys a low tax burden currently and incorporation would have led to higher tax rates and a much greater tax burden on its residents. Voters agreed with your Taxpayers Association that remaining as an unincorporated area is the best choice for all.
The municipal services tax rate unincorporated West Weber residents pay is significantly lower than surrounding cities, with the cities’ rates many multiples higher than what taxpayers currently pay in West Weber.
The incorporation proposal was rejected 56% to 44%.
Utah Legislative Races
Several legislative races in Salt Lake County have been hotly contested. Eric Hutchings (R – Kearns), has lost to his challenger.
In several House districts, incumbents narrowly retained their seats. Steve Eliason (R – Sandy) won by 77 votes, and Jim Dunnigan (R – Taylorsville), who has served as House Majority Leader, won against challenger Lynette Wendel by 84 votes.
Robert Spendlove (R – Sandy), a key member of the Legislature who helped craft the biggest tax cut in history (2007), won against challenger Siamik Khadjenoury by 1,172 votes.
Voters in the Provo School District voted on an $80 million bond to begin rebuilding and stabilizing Timpview High School. Timpview High is needing reconstruction due to being built on unsolid ground. The bond proposal is ahead 50.77% to 49.23%, a difference of 559 votes.
Tooele School District voters approved their bond 51.9% to 48.1%. The bond is $170 million, and would pay for a $100 million high school in north Tooele, a $50 million junior high in Stansbury Park, and a $20 million elementary school in Grantsville. The school district claims that there would be no additional tax increase with the passage of these bonds, since older bonds would be paid off within the new bond’s timeframe. Your Taxpayers Association believes it is important to clarify that, with older bonds expiring, taxes could have been lowered for property taxpayers.
Voters in Syracuse were asked to authorize a $26 million bond to primarily be used for financing a fifty-acre park. Voters rejected this 62 – 37%.
In Salt Lake County, Mayor Jenny Wilson has won her race against challenger Trent Skaggs. Mayor Wilson has raised property taxes for each year she has held the office. The vote was 51 – 45%.
Colorado Proposition 116 would reduce the income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 4.55 percent on both individuals and corporations. This proposition passed in Colorado. Utah’s individual and corporate income tax is at 4.95%, and your Taxpayers Association is calling for a cut in the income tax rate as one of our 2021 legislative priorities. Read more here.
Illinois’ Allow for Graduated Income Tax Amendment would remove the constitutional requirement for a flat income tax, allowing the legislature to create a graduated-rate structure. Illinois voters rejected this amendment.
Surprisingly, and fortunately, California voters decided to reject undoing the protections of its Proposition 13 which passed back in 1978. Proposition 15 would have introduced “split roll” property taxation, commercial properties would be assessed on their market value, while residential properties would continue being assessed on purchase price.