Lawmakers: Tuesday night hearing on bill raising food tax

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Legislative leaders say they plan to hold a public hearing Tuesday night on a proposal to raise the sales tax on food and lower the overall sales tax rate.

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser says the change would help stabilize Utah's sales tax collection and ensure there's money for social service programs and other government spending even in an economic downturn.

Critics say the proposal disproportionately impacts the poor, who spend more of their income on food, and is being rushed through the Legislature days before lawmakers adjourn for the year.

The proposal had not yet been publicly released by early Monday afternoon but Niederhauser says it will likely lower the state sales tax to about 4.4 percent, down from 4.75, and raise the sales tax on groceries to that level. It's currently at 1.75 percent.

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