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Richard Piatt ReportingUtah's Governor wants to change the way we pay taxes in the state. Governor Walker isn't too specific. She won't say if this could mean higher taxes, but she is determined to make serious changes.
Gov. Olene Walker: "We're going to look at exemptions, we're going to look at deductions, we're going to look at sales, income, corporate, franchise..."
In other words, a total tax reform proposal, according to Governor Olene Walker. And it has a deadline, August 1 of next year. A group of eight tax experts are lined up to help sort it all out with the goal of creating a more fair, efficient tax system.
Gov. Olene Walker: "If we want to have a sound 21st century in this state, we've got to take a serious look at taxes."
Even without specifics, Governor Walker is urgent. Targets for change could include income tax brackets, now seen as regressive. Or a new look at property taxes, currently lower than the national average.
However it ends up, watchdog groups like the Utah Taxpayers Association are already on high alert.
Mike Jerman, Utah Taxpayers Association: "Tax reform can be done without raising taxes. In fact you can lower taxes. But in tough economic times, tax reform is an opportunity to raise taxes while pretending to reform taxes."
Legislators, who will also have a say in any changes, aren't commenting on Walker's broad proposal. But the Governor says she expects the proposed changes to make a lot of people mad. She says she's doing what she thinks is right---even if it might be politically unpopular.