In the 2019 session, H.B. 441, the effort to overhaul Utah’s tax system by expanding sales taxes on services and removing certain exemptions, did not pass because of a failure to educate Utahns about our state’s financial situation and a lack of public input.
House Democrats wanted to explain why the legislature was talking about tax reform and listen to what Utahns wanted on this important issue. We hosted seven town halls in Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Ogden, Provo, Sandy, Holladay, and Heber City. We talked about why tax reform should be considered with a slide presentation, presented a simple explanatory video, and invited members of the public to share their opinions through an interactive poster session and an online survey available for those who couldn’t attend in-person.
We presented 12 tax reform options:
- expand sales/consumption tax base (essentially H.B. 441);
- raise rates;
- a statewide property tax;
- eliminate restrictions on revenue use (earmarks);
- eliminate the education fund;
- eliminate tax credits/exemptions;
- a tourism tax;
- a carbon tax;
- a gross receipts tax;
- tax sports gambling;
- a statewide lottery;
- a transportation user fee.
We also posed three questions:
- Should tax reform be revenue neutral, revenue cutting, or revenue raising?
- Who should bear the greatest burden?
- How quickly should new plans be implemented?
Here is our report on the feedback we received from Utahns who participated in the process.