Pignanelli and Webb: How to spend Utah's hefty budget surplus

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  • ConservativeCommonTater Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 10, 2019 7:47 a.m.

    If these guys figure out how to spend the $1.3 BILLION surplus taxation, it will give them the excuse to raise more taxes, because that will show a shortfall in spending.

    Taxes, a Republican's favorite dream.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 7, 2019 1:18 p.m.

    @BlueHusky-
    "I'm an immigrant from Southern Cal, and I've NEVER seen pollution like this. LA air is pristine compared to this ghastly mess."

    Unlike LA, our problem is driven by geography of living in a bowl. It gets worse as the population increases. And, to reduce need for those nasty refineries you should have walked from Provo to Logan. (Same concept applies if you drive coal powered electric car.)

    Since LA is so much nicer, please go back to California and quit adding to our pollution problems.

  • InMyOpinionAlso sandy, UT
    Jan. 7, 2019 12:35 p.m.

    Can we ever talk about taxes without the teachers always wanting more? What about all the other government employees working for 25%+ less than market rates. We all want more money and we are getting tired of educators pulling at the heart strings saying we don't care about children. Let's have more accountability, or better yet, consolidating the many school districts into fewer before throwing my hard-earned money at it. We need more teachers not more administrators making 4x more.

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    Jan. 7, 2019 9:26 a.m.

    Funny how neither of these big government liberals can even begin to suggest returning the money to those who actually earned and need it. No it all has to be spent.

    Refund the surplus!

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Jan. 7, 2019 7:59 a.m.

    Return the tax to those who paid it, and stop using gasoline tax for anything but road maintenance and road building.

  • BlueHusky Saratoga Springs, UT
    Jan. 7, 2019 7:07 a.m.

    I just drove from Utah County to Logan. Through the worst smog I've ever seen, apparently from the massively polluting refineries just north of Salt Lake City. I'm an immigrant from Southern Cal, and I've NEVER seen pollution like this. LA air is pristine compared to this ghastly mess.

    Use the 1.5 billion to clean up the air.

    (Of course, applying California air standards to industry would be a great start, but maybe the state could supplement the cost of the cleanup).

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 11:24 p.m.

    It's not "their" money, but earnings confiscated from Utah taxpayers.

    Very simple solution Figure what percentage the "unspent" money is of the income taxes collected.
    Add line to Utah 1040TC tax form: Enter amount of Utah income tax you paid last year. Multiply that by (whatever the percentage is). Deduct this amount from your Utah income tax for this year as a credit for overpayment last year.

    Simple, and gets the money to the people who were ripped off.

    By all means, do NOT go looking for new programs to spend it on. Instead, look for current programs that are ineffective, duplicative of other programs or just plain wasting money and cut them so there will be a surplus of "unspent" money next year too!

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 11:23 p.m.

    LOOK OUT!!! Every time Utah has a surplus the Legislature increases the gasoline tax. And that's part of the response in the article---making transportation "pay for itself." How do people that don't own a car take care of their responsibility to have highways for trucks to deliver goods (such as groceries or clothing)? Or what about emergency services---they all respond using roads. There is nothing wrong whatever with the general fund being used for transportation, prisons, certain health benefits for the disabled, etc. Just because one owns a car doesn't mean they need to support education with their gas taxes....that's what income taxes are for. And yes, others are correct that you pay Federal and Utah Income Tax when you earn the money that is used to provide a free loan to the government that you get beck through Social Security, so then Utah and the Feds tax it again; that's 4 times you pay tax on those earnings..which is immoral!

  • Cedarite Cedar City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 3:32 p.m.

    The proposed $200 million dollar "cut" is the theory that by vastly expanding sales tax to services and other things, if the rate on the vastly broadened taxation is dropped half a percent, it somehow constitutes a "cut" instead of the tax hike that it actually is, especially when local tax is also tacked on to every service Utahns use. Between gas tax hikes and online sales tax and existing overtaxation, Utah is awash in money, but like any out of control hungry animal, it wants more and more and more. Don't fall for the smoke and mirrors "cut" that is not a cut at all.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 2:35 p.m.

    itswhatithink - West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 11:31 a.m.
    Good idea. People have already been taxed on their income and paid social security taxes only to turn around and be taxed again on their social security income. We tax people to the point we make it more difficult for many people to survive just so we can brag about a billion dollar surplus. Taxes should be lower. We do not need that level of surplus. What it will likely go for is to carry Utah through lack of federal funding since Trump is determined to have the gov't shut down for years. Utah will have to pick up more of the funding for things they depend on Washington for unless someone can get Trump, McConnell and a few others out of office.

  • B-Real2 Saratoga Springs, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 12:16 p.m.

    The headline of this article already frustrates me. It should read: “how the state can RETURN the budget surplus to taxpayers”. Govt shouldn't intentionally or unintentiay charge or retain excessive taxes. Most of us would understand a very small amount being retained. But the vast majority should be returned when this occurs.

    Easiest way is to lower our already high income tax rate. Higher than all our neighboring states. This isn’t rocket science. Don’t let the state convince you that it is.

  • itswhatithink West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 6, 2019 11:31 a.m.

    because Utahns are taxed in excess (hence the where to spend the $1B extra $$ in one year) and fees are at an all time high on every utility by state, county, city, etc. how about we take the opportunity to make adjustments in taxes - - downward for a change.

    I would love to see Utah stop taxing seniors and retirees on their social security. Utah is one of a few states that do that. Many retirees are living off their earned social security benefits and have very fixed incomes. Let's give them a break and stop taxing the benefits that were taxed from the minute they starting paying in to social security.