Richard Piatt Reporting The Utah Legislature says tax cuts will happen and that every taxpayer in the state will benefit. That is among many developments as the 2007 session wraps up.
Tax cuts have been a hard-fought battle at the Legislature this year. It's one example where the final outcome came after compromise on all sides. Most of the bills in front of Legislators at this point have a dollar sign attached to them. They'll pass only if they've already been included in the larger budget. But few of those are more notable than what's known as the "tax cut omnibus bill," Senate Bill 223.
Sen. Curtis Bramble, Senate majority leader: "We've been intensely debating tax reform for years, and so now tax reform has been a hard-fought compromise."
The tax cut package totals $221 million. It includes a 5% flat income tax rate, dropping both the general sales tax to 4.65% and the sales tax on food to 3%. And some business taxes would also drop.
For the average taxpayer with two children, the total savings would be about $148 a year, according to Legislative estimates. The House still has to agree to the Senate's version.
Also on the next-to-the-last-day, Utah Valley State College is on the way to getting university status. UVSC staff and students are eagerly waiting for the issue to be finalized.
Bill Sederburg, UVSC president: "We've been a state college for 12 years. The natural next step is to be a state university, and our students are very interested in it."
Lawmakers are also close to funding $7.5 million for extended-day kindergarten and $4 million for the Children's Health Insurance Program. Some were worried that might not happen.
Karen Crompton, Voices for Utah Children: "As the session wore on, and the competition for money got worse, we were worried. But as of now, we have $4 million for CHIP, and 12,000 children can enroll."
But nothing will be final until after midnight tonight. So nobody who has an interest in any of these issues is relaxing yet.