Republicans in the House and Senate are struggling to come up with a caucus position on the complex AMAX property tax problem. Unfortunately, it appears they'll have to do it alone - Democratic legislators don't like the majority party's solutions.
"We don't want any taxes outside of the property tax area increased, and we're adamant that property taxes not go up on homes," says House Minority Whip Kelly Atkinson, D-West Jordan.Rob Bishop, House Majority Leader, says only through "equalizing" the property tax on cars and trucks through a statewide in-lieu system and imposing some limited - about $10 million worth - additional taxes on large, state-assessed properties can "a significant" tax shift be kept off of local businesses. Bishop, R-Brigham City, says the GOP plan, which is still unfolding, would keep tax increases on local businesses at about 5.6 percent.
He says the Democratic plan - which is a solution worked out by the AMAX consortium of concerned multicounty businesses - would leave local businesses with a 13 percent tax hike.
"It wouldn't be 13 percent on most small local businesses. Because personal property taxes, cars and such, would go down, small local businesses wouldn't see such a big hit," says House Minority Leader Frank Pignanelli, D-Salt Lake.