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John Daley ReportingIt's a change that will have an impact on literally every Utah family, that will likely change how much money you pay to the state in taxes. Governor Jon Huntsman unveiled a major tax reform proposal this afternoon.
Governor Huntsman carries in his shirt pocket a list of his key goals as governor, now he wants to simplify Utah's tax system so that instead of being two pages long, with an 18-page guide to explain it, your tax form will be just a few lines.
The Governor says his new plan, which comes after months of deliberations by the Tax Reform Task Force, is "flatter, fairer and simpler" than the current tax structure. The plan lowers the income tax rate by two percent and does away with numerous deductions.
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.: "I'd say this overall is better for Utah families. It is simpler and I think it ensures our prosperity from a competitive standpoint."
Here are the highlights: the income tax rate would go down to 5% to 7%. There would be a 12-thousand dollar exemption per Head of Household, a four-thousand dollar exemption per dependent, and a charitable tax credit,which the governor says will encourage contributions.
This new proposal would take Utah's tax rate from 16th highest in the nation to 35th highest in the nation, and be lower than most Western states including California, Oregon, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona. Both Nevada and Wyoming have no income tax, but one has gaming, the other gets lots of revenue from natural resources.
As for revenues, the governor's team says this should be revenue neutral, in other words the amount of money the state gets from income tax revenues should remain about the same.