Taxes proposed on yoga, ride sharing, streaming media and even veterinarians as big reform bill made public

SALT LAKE CITY -- Lawmakers are proposing a wide range of taxes on some services like sports, arts, tours, streaming media, portrait photography and even veterinary services as part of a major tax bill unveiled on Friday.

The recommendations made by a tax reform task force were published ahead of a renewed push by the legislature to overhaul the state's tax code. It would include a potential income tax cut, but also tax hikes on other things -- including raising the sales tax on food.

The backers of the proposal, House Majority Leader Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, and Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, told reporters on Friday afternoon they believed Utahns would see a decline in their tax burden as they shuffled revenues around to pay for critical government services.

"They’re not going to go up. That’s what I’m telling you. This is a tax cut. Anywhere from a 6% to 10% income tax rate deduction. As well as an additional $70 million in other tax deductions. So globally when you add everything together and the new sales tax coming in and the tax cuts? It winds up being a net $70-80 million dollar tax cut," Rep. Gibson said.

Added Sen. Hillyard: "And if I know life, my tax will go up and yours will go down, but overall it’s to be revenue neutral. That’s our goal."

Some of the proposed tax hikes are expected to generate considerable controversy. On Friday, people on the left and right reacted to the proposals.

"Let’s move forward with an income tax cut, which will make a big difference for middle class families, but let’s stop with the tax increases!" Provo businessman Jeff Burningham, who is running for the Republican nomination for governor. "Just because general fund revenue isn’t increasing as fast as state government would like to spend it doesn’t mean we need to raise taxes. First and foremost, let’s do a top to bottom review of spending and find where we can save taxpayer money because our rate of spending increases is unsustainable."

Jean Hill, the government liaison for the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City said they opposed a food tax.

"A tax credit does not resolve the problem for someone who does not make enough to file a return," she told FOX 13.

The Coalition of Religious Communities, a low-income advocacy group, called on people to let their elected lawmakers know how they felt about the tax reform proposals.

"Parents working two low wage jobs are far too busy to show up for meetings like these and share their struggles with legislators. We need to show up on their behalf and remind elected officials that families living from paycheck to paycheck need tax relief now-- not once a year," wrote Bill Tibbetts, CORC director, in an email to supporters.

The legislature has scheduled public hearings on Capitol Hill on the recommendations.

  • October 22, 2019 at 4:30 p.m.
  • November 7, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.
  • November 21, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.

House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, told reporters earlier this week he would consider a special session before the end of the year to make a tax reform package happen if it included an income tax cut for Utahns.

Read the document here:

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