Huntsman Undecided on Supporting Flat Tax

Huntsman Undecided on Supporting Flat Tax

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Gov. Jon Huntsman has not decided whether he will support a proposed personal income tax that would do away with all state deductions -- including those for charitable giving, home mortgage interest and dependent children.

The tax proposal came out of the income tax subcommittee of the Tax Reform Task Force last week.

Huntsman spokeswoman Tammy Kikuchi said last week's vote "was only preliminary, a starting point" so the task force can put together numbers on how a flat-rate income tax could affect Utahns.

Huntsman said he is watching the task force closely but so far endorses no personal income tax reform proposal. The only reform he now supports is phasing out of the state's 5 percent corporate income tax, Huntsman added.

The task force "is going to go through a lot of twists and turns," the governor, who is in Colorado for the Western Governors' Association meeting, told the Deseret Morning News. "I'm following the process."

The subcommittee vote in favor of the flat tax fell along partisan lines with Republicans voting for the flat tax, said state Rep. Roz McGee, D-Salt Lake, who opposed.

A recent Deseret News/KSL-TV poll by Dan Jones & Associates found that 70 percent of Utahns surveyed opposed a flat-rate income tax that doesn't have the current deductions for charitable giving, home mortgage interest and dependent children.

With those deductions retained, 68 percent supported a flat-rate income tax.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently issued a statement opposing removing the charitable deduction from state income taxes.

The 15-member Tax Reform Task Force has until November to review Utah's complicated tax system and make recommendations on how to make it more simple and fair, all while trying to shore up a crumbling tax base.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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