Herbert signs inland port, child tax credit bills

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SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert has signed legislation making changes to the controversial Utah Inland Port Authority law and giving families a $30 million break on their state income taxes.

Lawmakers passed the two bills and seven others last week during a special session of the Legislature.

One measure shrunk the port authority's boundaries by about 4,000 acres and added concessions to Salt Lake City for land use decisions.

The City Council and state leaders hailed the bill as a compromise satisfying most of the city's concerns, but Mayor Jackie Biskupski said it left unanswered questions and didn't fully address issues with land use authority and tax increment.

Herbert called the special session after several weeks of negotiations with the City Council because talks with Biskupski had stalled in May.

The governor praised the council for helping craft a more sustainable foundation for connecting Utah workers and ingenuity with the global supply chain through the inland port.

Legislators also used the session to address Congress eliminating personal exemptions, valued at $4,050 each in 2017, under the $1.5 trillion federal tax plan.

The new tax credit is expected to reduce state income taxes owed by about $34 for each dependent or around $170 for a family with five children. It amounts to a little less than half of the estimated impact of changes to the federal tax code on Utah families with more than two children earning between $40,000 and $80,000.

Hebert said in a statement last week that he was pleased lawmakers could help Utah's families avoid unanticipated income tax hikes.

Lawmakers also passed a bill addressing the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on online sales taxes. The decision overturned decades-old opinions that said companies that didn't have a physical presence in a state didn't have to collect sales taxes from customers there.

Other measures dealt with off-premise beer retailer licensing, drinking water sources and storage requirements, road funds and damage limits for personal injury claims against the government.

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Dennis Romboy
Dennis Romboy is an editor and reporter for the Deseret News. He has covered a variety of beats over the years, including state and local government, social issues and courts. A Utah native, Romboy earned a degree in journalism from the University of Utah. He enjoys cycling, snowboarding and running.


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