Snow on the mountains and nowhere to park on Capitol Hill can only mean one thing: the Legislative Session has begun. Here are the Utah Taxpayers Association legislative priorities so far:
HJR 14/HB 284 Initiative Amendments
This bill requires a 60% public vote to pass a statewide initiative that would raise taxes. If passed, this bill would ensure that initiatives that would have costs for Utahns have broad support and undergoes a suitably difficult process to pass. It would also protect Utah taxpayers from the funding of statewide initiatives from out-of-state special interest groups. Once these bills pass, the question would be put on the ballot for voters to approve this change to the Utah Constitution this fall.
HB 173 Local School Board Amendments
This bill allows a tax hike proposed by a school board to be subject to referendum by the voters. Currently, tax hikes by other local entities are subject to a referendum, however school district tax hikes are not. Given that school districts are the recipients of more than 50% of property taxes paid, this is an important protection for taxpayers.
HB 183/SB 69 Income Tax Reduction
This bill lowers the state individual and corporate income tax from 4.65% to 4.55%. The fiscal note on this bill is just over $160 million, which is the amount that was set aside by the Legislature for a tax cut before the session began.
HB 354 Truth in Taxation Revisions
This bill, emulating policy from the 1990s, requires voter approval for a taxing entity to impose a tax hike in 2024,2025 or 2026. Given that 46 entities proposed tax hikes in both 2022 and 2023, and the ever-growing burden of property tax, this bill offers some much-needed relief and encourages taxing entities to curtail their budgets and educate their voters before seeking more revenue.
1 Sub SB 86 Local Government Bonds Amendments
This bill limits the use of lease revenue bonds (which do not require voter approval) to a $90 million limit and can only be used only once per year. Lease revenue bonds may also be issued for correctional facilities and transportation projects. This significantly restricts the extent to which lease revenue bonds can be used as a voter go-around.
1 Sub SB 100 Local Referenda Amendments
This bill aligns the process and criteria to referendum a local bond election that relates to sales tax backed bonds with other referendum processes and criteria. It protects taxpayers’ important right and ability to referendum bond decisions that may have an impact on local expenditures and tax decisions.
These bills will provide important protections for taxpayers, reduce Utahns’ overall tax burden, and preserve Utah’s #1 status for economic outlook. Your Utah Taxpayers Association will work hard to ensure these are passed.