Utahns are still going to have to pay the full sales tax on a new mobile home. Senators killed a bill Monday that would have allowed a 45 percent reduction on such sales tax, many saying the state's tax base couldn't be eroded further.
Sen. Richard Tempest, R-Salt Lake, wanted to give the buyers of mobile homes a break. After all, buyers of normal homes don't pay sales tax."Mobile homes are the only homes affordable to many young couples starting out or senior citizens seeking retirement," said Tempest.
But the measure would have cost the state about $500,000 a year and several senators said that just can't be afforded this year.
-SENATORS DID AGREE, however, to give three-quarters of an exemption on state income tax returns to parents who take care of multiple-handicapped children at home.
One man testified that he and his wife take care of their severely handicapped son at home, spending $200 a month just to find out each month what kind of drugs he needs to control his seizures the following month. The 14-year-old boy can't walk or talk. Someday he'll have to be hospitalized when he grows too large for his mother to care for. But for years the family has kept him out of the State Training School, saving the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Even though the exemption would cost the state an estimated $900,000 a year, senators approved it unanimously. "This is an example of why giving a measly $19 million tax reduction (as Gov. Norm Bangerter suggests) is bad public business when we have all these needs," said Sen. Omar Bunnell, D-Price.
-THE GOVERNOR got no support from representatives of the Utah Education Association, the state Office of Education and the League of Women Voters for his proposal to limit government spending.
The three groups lobbied against HB270 during a House committee meeting Monday, citing concerns over the effect setting a ceiling on state spending would have on education funding.
"When they're asked, people are saying they want quality education above tax limitation or reduction," said the UEA's Jim Eldridge. Eldridge and Charlotte Newman of the League of Women Voters of Utah both noted that the tax initiative that would have limited property tax rates and government growth was overwhelmingly defeated last November.
Not surprisingly, the organization behind the property tax initiative, the Utah Taxpayers Association, came out in favor of the bill. A spokesman for the organization, Jack Olson, told lawmakers that the limitation measure would satisfy those Utahns who voted for the initiatives.
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee took no action on the bill, which resulted from Bangerter's campaign promise to keep taxes from increasing at a faster pace than inflation and population growth.