Jay Evensen: Who loses in Utah's proposed tax reform law?

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  • byufootballrocks Salt Lake City, UT
    March 7, 2019 12:07 p.m.

    I am opposed to adding any new categories of taxes in Utah.

    My kids piano lessons?
    Lawn care?
    Architectural services?
    Barbershops, tuition, health insurance premiums, even plumbers?

    Who thought this up?

    The public forum on this was brief, and now they want to rush this complicated legislation through in less than two weeks. It's a "rush" because only now is the public beginning to understand what is in the bill.

    Just because something goes through a committee process in government doesn't mean that it's a "studied" piece of legislation.

    This needs to be examined much longer, and I mean in a public forum, not behind closed doors.

  • byubryguy Farmington, UT
    March 7, 2019 10:58 a.m.

    If the justification for this bill is that sales of products are being replaced by sales of services, why are they taxing services that were never previously provided as products? Legal services, music lessons, consulting, etc. As I look at the bill it is already rife with special interest lobbying. Why are some services excluded and others are not? Are lobbying services going to be taxed?

    I own a small business and we serve a lot of out of state clients because our fees are much more reasonable than what our clients would get on the coasts. I can't see passing this fee on to them, so it will come out of my own pocket. If I can't pass this expense on to my clients then I'm personally looking at losing thousands of dollars per year. If I do pass the cost on to my clients, then I risk losing business and the competitive advantage that we have here in Utah.

  • DavidMiller American Fork, UT
    March 7, 2019 10:56 a.m.

    Tax reform is a serious issue - especially with a shifting tax base - an deserves serous study and consideration. I'm glad that the legislature is tackling the issue but this bill has all the hallmarks of poorly crafted, ill-advised, rushed legislation. It's time for the legislature to punt on tax reform.

    They should table this bill and establish a committee to keep investigating the issue throughout the year and propose multiple potential approaches to tax reform (5 or fewer) which could be publicly debated and refined in advance of a future legislative session. When that process has played out the legislature would have a broadly refined framework that they could use to craft the finer details through legislative debate before passing tax reform. This process would take longer but could be completed within a relatively few years and produce a better tax reform outcome.

    March 7, 2019 9:11 a.m.

    The worst thing about this bill could be its proposal to TAX HEALTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS. Are you serious? We currently pay $1,341 a MONTH on our health insurance premium. That is our single biggest bill. And the state of Utah thinks it deserves a piece of that? Why? It is already breaking us. Medical expenses are out of control, and Utah wants to add to that burden??? Please vote this bill down, or change a few of the more ridiculous elements of it, like the tax on health insurance premiums!

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2019 5:26 p.m.

    Sure would be nice if we had more Democrats... and I don't even mean a majority, or even enough to filibuster on their own (though I'd appreciate either), I mean like enough to filibuster nonsense if a couple Republicans side with them which usually happens when something crazy is being proposed.

  • rawksongs Sandy, UT
    March 5, 2019 6:08 p.m.

    This is an insane bill & no one including the Governor or my senators have any idea what's in it. I contacted them all & none of them could give me a straight answer. It's all being rushed through with no public debate. Nobody wants to take a position on it because they have no idea what's in it. Just say no & let's have a full public discussion around this. If the people of the state understood what this really was 90% would say NO WAY to HB441

  • Invisible Hand Provo, UT
    March 5, 2019 4:13 p.m.

    Every special interest has a reason this tax shouldn't apply to them. A good tax is one that is flat and low, and this meets those criteria. Don't give any exemptions to special interests and the tax will be low enough that the risk and expense of trying to dodge it won't be worthwhile, and most consumers won't even notice it. Move forward on tax reform.

    @redshirt: Property taxes are actually justifiable because they are kind of like use taxes. They pay for police and fire protection, local roads, snowplows and so on. Using the money for education is a stretch and I get your argument there, but use taxes are the best kind of taxes because you are paying for the services you use.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    March 5, 2019 12:25 p.m.

    I have a better idea. Only 3 types of taxes should be had. We should only have an income tax on individuals, or a use tax for products like gasoline. The third would be a small tax on business profits generated outside of Utah. All other taxes should be done away with.

    Sales tax is a tax for you to use your own money. Property taxes are just forcing you to rent your property from the government, you never actually own the property.

    If we did this, we could have a single sheet of paper printed on one side to pay our taxes. It would save the government a lot of money, and it would save businesses money. It would take away a lot of the shell games that the government plays when raising taxes because you see its effects immediately, it isn't hidden at a cash register or hidden by calling it something else.

  • Strider303 American Fork, UT
    March 5, 2019 11:34 a.m.

    I don’t think HB441 has been discussed enough in and with the public. Closed caucus discussions, quick comments at lobbyist provided meals and grunts of acquiescence from legislative subordinates to leaders does not constitute a real discussion with constituents and the citizens of the state.

    This bill is 260 pages, over 8,000+ lines of “fine print”, few if any of our august legislators will have cursorily glanced at the bill, let alone read and studied it. I suggest that the GOP legislators offer an olive branch of reconciliation to Speaker Pelosi and ask her to record her famous words regarding the Affordable Care Act for HB441, roughly ‘we have to pass it to see what’s in it’.

    May I opine on what is so bizarre about the claim that the tax base is shrinking, the issue is because the economy has a growing service component. Specifically the claim that smartphones are replacing many products once purchased. I have a smartphone but I still buy and eat groceries, drive a car, wear clothes, pay utilities. Phones may be used in researching or pricing goods, they do not replace the goods. I find a hotel on the phone but do not sleep in the phone.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    March 5, 2019 9:30 a.m.

    This isn't "tax reform". That's GOP speak for middle class tax increase. They are creating all kinds of new taxes on services and items never taxed before. Those will be forever. We are at almost full employment. The economy is hot. When we have a market correction and an economic slowdown (it's coming) the Legislature will be complaining that the tax rate that they did lower is not enough to sustain government spending. So, they will raise that rate back to where it was (or higher) while keeping all the new taxes on services that they are proposing. The GOP touts "fiscal conservatism", but they don't do what they say. We can't afford this. NO on this tax "reform".

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    March 5, 2019 9:24 a.m.

    Because most profits are made from shorting labor, Utah needs a more progressive (higher rates at higher brackets) tax system. It will not get it with this. Working class people will continue to be shafted, maybe much more so than now. But did we expect anything else from this legislature? This is worse than I expected.