Members of a Legislative committee once again decided not to decide whether vehicles should be subject to a uniform tax rate set by the state instead of the current system of locally imposed property tax.
Members of the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee have reviewed various proposals for what are known as either a uniform vehicle tax or a registered vehicle fee over the past few years.On Wednesday, committee members heard a presentation on establishing a 1.8 percent uniform vehicle tax from Kevin Howard, associate legislative general counsel.
They listened as Howard reviewed five pages of charts that detailed how much tax revenue counties raise under the current system and how much they would get if the state set the rates.
Howard also explained proposed legislation that would set a uniform vehicle tax of 1.8 percent statewide, equal to the average amount charged in Salt Lake County, which has the state's highest tax rates.
Because that rate would raise an additional $7.4 million above what the current county rates bring in, the bill would require counties to lower their property tax rates so they end up with the same amount of tax dollars.
Substituting 1.6 percent, the average amount charged by counties statewide, would mean that the two counties with higher-than-average rates, Salt Lake and Weber, would have to raise property tax rates to make up for the loss in revenue.
When the chairman of the committee, Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, asked if members were ready to vote on a proposed plan, none came forward. Howard hinted that the voting public's frustration with current tax rates might be the reason.
"There are major philosophical decisions that have to be made. Maybe now is not the time. Maybe after Nov. 8," he said, a reference to the upcoming general election.
About half of committee members declined to participate in even a straw poll. That poll found eight members in favor of a 1.6 percent rate and six supporting the 1.8 percent rate.