Governor Olene Walker didn’t do what she promised! On December 5, soon after assuming office, she introduced a team of tax policy advisors that she charged with formulating a plan to overhaul Utah’s tax system. “My aim,” said the new Governor, “is total tax reform.”
She said she would unveil her plan on August 1, proceed to hold hearings throughout the state and force the issue during the fall campaign season. It didn’t happen . . . and that’s disappointing.
Unfortunately, the Governor’s enthusiasm to accomplish something truly significant during her brief term in office became the victim of the utter complexity of the issue, compounded by her lame-duck status.
Regardless, the idea should not be allowed to die. Utah’s tax system needs fixing. As with the federal system, although on a much smaller scale, it is convoluted, unfair and inefficient.
It is notable that her team of experts forged ahead with their study. Now the governor says she intends to put forth a plan after the election. We sincerely hope she does. And we hope whoever is elected to succeed her has the political courage to openly and thoroughly evaluate whatever recommendations are offered. As one state official put it, the state’s tax system “has morphed in ways that were never intended (and) it is time to fix it.”