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Utah tax reform: Create a crisis and sell it to the Public
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Utah tax reform:  Create a crisis and sell it to the public


Ronald Mortensen, Ph.D.

Co-Founder, CitizensForTaxFairness.org

July 29, 2019


Key Points


  • Utah’s Republican governor and Republican legislators created a funding imbalance by driving up income tax collections while suppressing sales tax collections.

     

  • Republicans then packaged this as a crisis in order to convince Utahns that the state has to find new things to tax.

     

  • The Republicans’ end-game is for the governor to call a special session and for legislators to enact taxes on more things with the incidence of those taxes falling primarily on low and middle-income Utahns and on small businesses. 

     

  • Republicans voting for the bill will be rewarded with large campaign contributions from big businesses and by the uber-rich since they will benefit the most from it.

     

  • Unless Utahns take action to stop this, they will soon be paying more taxes in order to fund even more state spending, to further socialize big business costs and to reduce income taxes paid by the uber-rich.

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Talking Points

 Tax Reform Task Force Meeting – Layton 7-8-19

 Ronald Mortensen, CitizensForTaxFairness.org

 

  1. Utah’s Republican governors and legislators have a tax and spending problem.

    1. During the past 20 years, population increased by 45% and inflation by 44%.  However, the state budget, exclusive of federal funds, increased by 146%.  Add in federal funds and it’s up 160%.

    2. So state spending increased 3 times faster than population growth, 60% faster than population and inflation combined and roughly 2.6 times faster than median income which increased by 55%.

       

  2. Utah has a sales tax exemption problem.

    1. Exemptions extended to certain privileged, big businesses allow them to socialize their costs and privatize their profits by avoiding all sales and corporate income tax payments.

      1. For example, a privileged Utah company that manufactures Wigits pays no sales tax on business inputs. 

        1. Thus, during the production process no sales tax is collected on any of the say, $500,000 in inputs.

        2. And when the completed the Wigit is sold out of state for $1,000,000 no Utah state sales tax is collected—a loss of over $60,000 in sales tax revenue.

        3. Likewise, the privileged business pays no income tax on revenue from the Wigits sold out-of-state.

      2. Therefore, low and middle-income earners along with small businesses are left to make up the tax losses.

         

  3. If you are determined to modernize the tax structure, then do something more than just rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.

    1. Implement the PowerBall and MegaMillion Lotteries so Utahns can buy lottery tickets without driving to Idaho or Wyoming.

      1. In addition to the revenue from ticket sales, a one billion dollar Utah winner would pay the state 50 million dollars in additional income tax.

    2. Consider legalizing and taxing online sports betting – a $300 billion business and Utahns already bet on sports.

    3. Require candidates for political office to pay a sales tax on all campaign donations that they take in.  The 2018, 4th Congressional District race would have brought in roughly $550,000 in sales tax revenue to the state ($9 million spent by both candidates--$5,786,427 Love, $3,384,890 McAdams).  The Salt Lake Mayoral race to date would have brought in $60,000.












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