Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Taxpayers Association gave legislators high marks for their efforts this year to cut taxes and pass "sound tax policy."
"Legislators passed a very broad income tax rate, which we have called on the Legislature for throughout the prior year. We appreciate the Legislature's consideration of all Utah taxpayers while also seeing record revenues," Rusty Cannon, president of the association, said in a statement on Tuesday.
The nearly 100-year-old organization advocates for tax relief and reform.
The taxpayers association also named more lawmakers as a "Friend of the Taxpayer" than it did last year. Lawmakers who voted with the taxpayers association at least 90% of the time were included. During this year's session, 26 representatives earned the recognition, as well as 21 senators.
"Our Friend of the Taxpayer award is coveted by legislators, and we congratulate this year's winners for defending sound tax policy. We view the number of winners this year as evidence that legislators understand the importance of formulating sound tax policy for Utah taxpayers," Cannon said.
One of the Legislature's first orders of business during the session was to pass a bill to reduce Utah's income tax rate from 4.95% to 4.85%. The bill has been signed by Gov. Spencer Cox, making it law.
Cannon said the Utah Taxpayers Association's annual scorecard ranked all 104 legislators on 15 "crucial" tax-related bills from this year's session.
"The bills that were rated covered key taxpayer issues such as cutting taxes, preventing tax increases, promoting equity in Utah's tax code and ensuring economic success in the state for years to come," he said.
Among bills supported by the association, the Utah Legislature passed:
- HB268, which changes the definition of business income to let a taxpayer elect to treat all income from the sales of intangible property as business income but creates an exemption for those who give guided lessons in a skill.
- HJR19 to enact rules and procedures for transparency in the budgeting and appropriations process. "Taxpayers are less likely to see last-minute budget maneuvers that avoid public scrutiny," Cannon said.
- SB93, which eliminates the sales tax for supplies used in the course of business and exempts certain tangible personal property consumed in the performance of a taxable service from sales and use tax.
- SB147 to reduce overall cellphone user fees in future years.
"Utah has one of the highest tax and fee burdens on phone usage in the nation, and the taxpayers association supports lowering these fees," according to the report.
The Legislature did not pass the Hope Scholarship bill, HB331, which was championed by the taxpayers association and sought to establish a scholarship program to fund education spending accounts for families to pursue choices outside the public school system.
The report can be found at Utah taxpayers.org.