Interim committee moves to eliminate restaurant tax

Interim committee moves to eliminate restaurant tax

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Lawmakers are working to make a change after learning the 1 percent local restaurant tax isn't taking from tourists as was intended.

Rep. Craig Frank, R-Pleasant Grove, is sponsoring a bill to eliminate the tax. Wednesday the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee gave unanimous approval to the measure.

"Even the legislators themselves acknowledge the fact that the tax is an unfair tax," Utah Restaurant Association President Melva Sine told KSL Newsradio in a phone interview Thursday morning.

Research from the University of Utah presented to lawmakers showed 85 percent of the people that eat at restaurants are locals.

Retailers aren't happy with the bill. To offset lost county revenue, the bill also increases the local option sales tax by 0.1 percent. They say Utahns will feel the pinch more under the measure.

Sine disagrees.

"I don't believe that you're shifting a burden from a tourist to a citizen," Sine said. "That's the problem--citizens are paying that additional tax right now."

If approved, the increased local option sales tax would take effect in 2011.


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