Committee Votes to Repeal Cable and Satellite TV Tax

Committee Votes to Repeal Cable and Satellite TV Tax

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Legislature's Revenue and Taxation Committee has voted 14-1 in favor of repealing the state's new cable and satellite television tax.

The tax had been expected to raise $20 million a year but was found to conflict with federal law.

The committee also approved a motion Wednesday to ask Gov. Mike Leavitt to place the repeal measure on the agenda for the Nov. 19 special session.

"I'm glad my colleagues sitting around this table have had a revelation that it needs to be repealed," said Sen. Ed Mayne, D-West Valley City.

Republican lawmakers last winter hijacked Mayne's bill to eliminate sales tax exemptions for some industries and over his objections replaced it with the cable and satellite sales tax.

The levy affected more than 500,000 Utah households, according to industry officials, adding close to $3 to the monthly bill of a customer with a $40 satellite or cable package.

State officials have since discovered that federal law prohibits imposition of local taxes on satellite-dish services. The Utah Tax Commission ordered satellite providers not to collect the levy.

House Majority Leader Greg Curtis, R-Sandy, a principal booster of the tax last March, said, "Circumstances have changed and I think we ought to repeal this," he said.

However, Curtis said, "It's fair to say there is not unanimity on this issue."

Leavitt has exclusive control over what goes on the special session agenda and has made no decision on whether to include the tax-repeal bill.

"It would have to meet the urgency criteria; in other words, can it wait until the general session? And it would also have to have consensus" support in the Legislature, said the governor's spokeswoman, Natalie Gochnour.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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