Utah Cable and Satellite TV Sales Tax Hits July 1st

Utah Cable and Satellite TV Sales Tax Hits July 1st

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- Cable and satellite television subscribers will get hit with a sales tax after July 1.

The Utah Legislature voted on the final day of its session in March to apply the tax to cable and satellite services to help balance the state budget.

Subscribers will see a sales tax on their bills that ranges among counties from 5.75 percent to 7 percent, said Doug MacDonald, chief economist at the Utah Tax Commission.

The state will raise $14 million annually by levying its portion of the sales tax on cable and satellite services, chief legislative fiscal analyst John Massey said.

The state portion is 4.75 percent.

Brad Bennett of Southern Utah TV and Satellite doesn't expect to lose any customers over the tax.

"Most customers are going to be surprised to find out that they weren't paying (sales tax) already," he said.

The cable tax came about after Sen. Ed Mayne, D-West Valley City, introduced a bill to close 18 sales-tax loopholes on such things as chair lifts and electricity at ski resorts and new equipment at factories and steel mills. But the cable tax wasn't on Mayne's list.

Legislative Republicans "amended and substituted my bill, took out everything that I had in and put in a new tax on dish and cable television," Mayne said.

Mayne ended up voting against a bill that still had his name on it.

Cable and satellite companies "didn't lift a finger" to fight the tax, Mayne said. "I blame them. They have high-paid lobbyists that could have gotten us the three to five votes that would have killed the bill."

MacDonald said all of Utah's counties automatically will follow the state in levying their portion of the sales tax on cable and satellite services.

Utah's sales tax is as high as 7 percent in Garfield County, which levies a percentage point of that for rural hospitals, MacDonald said.

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

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