While many might debate how to pronounce the Latin phrase, “Sine die”, the meaning of the phrase – adjournment with no plans for resumption of the proceedings – is what matters to all of us up on Capitol Hill at the end of the legislative session. When the gavel drops in the House of Representatives and Senate to adjourn “Sine Die”, it means it is over. Done. The cake is baked. All bills must be passed by that time and there is no going back. Anything that is left undone stays undone until the following year.

There were many bills that were killed in committee that the Taxpayers Association was opposed to. In addition to those, we would like to highlight several pieces of legislation: 

HB 367 – Local Government Fees Modifications (K Peterson – R)
Utah Taxpayers Position: Support
This bill puts important guardrails around the proliferation and use of Transportation Utility Fees by city governments in Utah. After a recent Utah Supreme Court decision, the need for this bill became critical to prevent the proliferation of these fees. Without guardrails, these fees could be implemented to pay for all kinds of government spending and eventually supplant the Truth in Taxation process. The bill also bans the use of fees for public safety or broadband services by municipalities.
HB 367 passed the House 71-0-4, not heard by the Senate

SB 29 – Truth in Taxation Amendments (Wilson – R)
Utah Taxpayers Position: Support
Senate Bill 29 adds important additional transparency and clarity for taxpayers on property tax increase notifications. Most importantly, local governments seeking to raise taxes will need to also disclose the amount that their budget will increase on notices. This helps taxpayers more fully understand the reasons behind any proposed tax hikes.
SB 29 passed the Senate 25-0-4, passed the House 66-0-9

SB 69 – Income Tax Amendments (Wilson – R)
Utah Taxpayers Position: Support
This bill continues the trend in the right direction for Utah taxpayers by lowering the state income tax rate from 4.65% to 4.55% retroactively, starting on January 1, 2024. Combined with the tax cuts in recent years this adds up to significant relief for taxpayers.
SB 69 passed the Senate 23-6-0, passed the House 63-11-1

SB 86 – Local Government Bonds Amendments (Fillmore – R)
Utah Taxpayers Position: Support
Senate Bill 86 places important restrictions on taxing entities that go around voter approval on issuing taxpayer funded debt, called “Lease Revenue Bonds”. After being created in 1981 in order to find a way to finance the building of a jail in Iron County, these bonds are now being abused by school districts and other taxing entities in order to issue debt without voter approval. This bill requires notices to be mailed to property tax payers and a public vote to be held. It also caps the amount of lease revenue bond debt a taxing entity can issue.
SB 86 passed the Senate 20-6-3, passed the House 43-23-9

SB 91 – Local Government Officers Compensation Amendments (Wilson – R)
Utah Taxpayers Position: Support
This bill provides greater transparency for taxpayers by requiring that local governments discuss and vote on compensation for elected officials and staff in an open and separate public meeting. This will prevent them from burying that information in other meetings and documentation.
SB 91 passed the Senate 24-0-5, passed the House 46-21-8 

SB100 – Local Referenda Amendments (Balderree – R)
Utah Taxpayers Position: Support
SB 100 gives voters more time to gather signatures when they are seeking to refer a city vote on issuing bonds backed by sales tax to a vote on the ballot. This bill moves the time period from 30 days to 45 days.
SB 100 passed the Senate 29-0-0, passed the House 70-0-5

HB 562 – Utah Fairpark Area Investment and Restoration District (Wilcox – R)
Utah Taxpayers Position: Neutral
The “baseball bill” sets in motion the process for setting up a ballpark district to begin development in anticipation of a Major League Baseball team coming to Utah. The district would be next to the power plant on the west side of Salt Lake City on North Temple. The bill stipulates that all property tax, sales tax and some additional taxes that are generated in the district stay in the district to pay for the financing of the stadium. In addition, there is an increase in the statewide rental car tax of 1.5% that will also pay for the stadium. Finally, all income tax paid by visiting baseball players will also go towards paying for the stadium. The district will be able to bond for up to $900 million to help finance the stadium. The other $900 million will be paid for by the Larry H Miller group and the stadium will be gifted to the state and the state will own the stadium in perpetuity. The proposed increase in the statewide hotel tax that was in the original bill was removed and a working group will be formed to discuss the statewide hotel tax and other possible ways to finance the remainder of the baseball stadium.
HB 562 passed the House 51-21-3, passed the Senate 25-4-0

SB 272 – Capital City Reinvestments Zone Amendments (McCay – R)
Utah Taxpayers Position: Neutral
The “hockey bill” forms a project area around the Delta Center in downtown Salt Lake City in order to collect tax revenue in the district to help finance a new or rebuilt stadium in anticipation of a National Hockey League team coming to Utah. In addition, the Salt Lake City Council could vote to increase sales tax within Salt Lake City by .50% to help finance the stadium. That would bring the total sales tax rate including local option taxes to 8.25% in Salt Lake City.
SB 272 passed the Senate 22-4-3, passed the House 50-20-5

HB 284/HJR14 – Proposal To Amend Utah Constitution – Statewide Initiatives (Kyle – R)
Utah Taxpayers Position: Support
This bill would have put forward a constitutional amendment on the ballot this next fall that would ask voters to approve a change to the Utah Constitution that would require any statewide ballot initiative that seeks to increase taxes or implement new taxes pass with a 60% threshold. This would provide important protections for Utah families and ensure that any initiative like that has board support and has been properly vetted.
HJR14 passed the House 54-20-1, not heard by the Senate 

HB173 – Local School Board Amendments (Pierucci – R)
Utah Taxpayers Position: Support
Currently, all tax hikes by local governments like cities, counties and special districts are subject to referendum by voters if the required number of signatures are gathered. School district tax hikes are not allowed to be referred to the ballot. HB 173 would change that and make it so taxpayers could have that ability.
HB 173 passed the House 42-28-5, not heard by the Senate

HB 285 – Public Sector Union Organizing Amendments (Teuscher – R)
Utah Taxpayers Position: Support
HB 285 would prevent public sector unions from using taxpayer funded resources for union organizing, make public sector unions go through a recertification vote every 5 years, and place restrictions on the public entity from deducting union dues from worker paychecks. This bill would help end the unfair subsidization of union activity by taxpayers.
HB 285 passed out of House Committee 8-4-4 but was not voted on on the House floor

HB 354 – Truth in Taxation Revisions (Clancy -R)
Utah Taxpayers Position: Support
This bill would provide important transparency and input for taxpayers by requiring that any local taxing entity that wants to raise taxes in 2024, 2025 or 2026, would need to get voter approval to do so.
HB 354 was never heard in committee

In addition to the bills that passed in the 2024 session, many of the bills that did not pass will spark some lively conversations over the interim on several important topics. The Utah Taxpayers Association will be busy weighing in on all of them.