Herbert proposes $200 million tax cut — but also new taxes to 'broaden' Utah's shrinking tax base

'This may be the best budget we've ever had,' governor says

Return To Article

Commenting has temporarily been suspended in preparation for our new website launch, which is planned for the week of August 12th. When the new site goes live, we will also launch our new commenting platform. Thank you for your patience while we make these changes.

  • Lets tell the truth Highland, UT
    Dec. 9, 2018 8:23 p.m.

    As someone who has lived in London, California and Washington State, I can with experience say that all Utahn's should count your blessings. This state is run very well fiscally; there is sanity in this budget and taxes. I just paid the county I lived in nearly 2% of my sell price in my Washington home just for the privilege to sell it. I could go on and on with the ridiculous taxes and cost of living extremes of these other places. This is a great place to live; glad to be here living among the sane. Some whiners for sure, but mostly, the sane.

  • JamesRobinson , 00
    Dec. 9, 2018 12:45 p.m.

    I doubt legislators will cut taxes. They have people like Jonathan Ball who manipulate numbers so that legislators won't have enough money to cut taxes. Maybe Wilson and Adams will have enough power to make it happen at $200 million, although I wouldn't put money on it. They just do not have enough power or knowledge against the money men.

  • mrjj69 bountiful, UT
    Dec. 7, 2018 6:46 p.m.

    it seems a tax increase is always a part of the solution. Social security gives infrequent and abysmal increases because they claim there is no inflation. I'd like to see government live on an austere budget like the rest of us.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    Dec. 7, 2018 1:50 p.m.

    To "Ranch" prove it. What detriments are there in the US from churches. Don't go down the road of looking at specific churches, but you need to provide verifiable studies that show any detriment there is to society. An article written by an anti-theist is not a verifiable study but is just an angry rant.

    Even in the case of a religious group's adoption agency seeking state or federal funding, that is cheaper to give them the money than for the state to do the same work.

    Prove it, show us that overall a church costs more money than it saves or brings into an area.

  • imsmarterthanyou Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2018 12:44 p.m.

    Here's a crazy idea: why don't we make the government exist on a little bit less than they are taking from us? Perhaps lay off 1/2 the do-nothing government workforce, make the remaining 1/2 actually earn their paycheck? That would be a real good way to free up a LOT of money they could stop taking out of my paycheck.

  • JamesRobinson , 00
    Dec. 7, 2018 12:22 p.m.

    No doubt, Jonathan Ball will try to manipulate things so that legislators do not cut taxes. Perhaps our Legislature will get an honest analyst.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 7, 2018 11:25 a.m.

    @water rocket;

    "Politicians can' tax churches, period. It would be a violation of the constitution,"

    -- False. There is not a single thing in the Constitiution that prevents taxing churches. Especially mega-billionaire churches.


    "You do know that churches provide many services at a much lower cost than the government could provide them."

    -- Then why are they asking for government subsidies for adoptions, pavements, etc.? Huh?

    "There are also all of the well documented socioeconomic benefits from churches ..."

    -- There are also well document socioeconomic detriments from churches. They SHOULD pay taxes and contributions to churches that do not go directly to helping the poor and needy should NOT be allowed to be deducted as "charitable" contributions. They're nothing more than Club Dues.

    "Why would you want to tax organizations that save taxpayers money?"

    -- They COST us money because we're subsidizing them. It's not a savings.

    @search diligently;

    Actually that is a great idea; tax the parents for the teaching their children receive!

  • search diligently Lehi, UT
    Dec. 7, 2018 10:46 a.m.

    Services should not be taxed. Those who make a living on services are already paying income and payroll taxes on the revenues. To start taxing them opens the door wide open to more taxes. If you are going to tax haircuts, how about taxing teaching in the classrooms? It is nonsense to do either.

    People poorly understand the issue of taxes on gasoline/fuel. Other neighboring states are doing taxing theirs. Every time you drive through their states and stop to gas up, you are paying part of their state's tax burden which reduces the overall taxes the citizens pay in that state. And even if you don't drive through their states, the trucks that ship products to Utahns are paying taxes in these neighboring states to get it to you, which in turn increases the price for the products to you.

    Taxes have to come from somewhere to pay for government services, including education. Utahns should open their eyes and ears and understand that increasing taxes on fuel will reduce taxes overall to Utahns since others will help pay for it out of state... just like we are doing for their state coffers.

  • Truthczar Colorado Springs, CO
    Dec. 7, 2018 10:07 a.m.

    Eliminate the Utah income tax so the state is more affordable and reward the workers.

  • dale richards Green River, Utah
    Dec. 7, 2018 8:21 a.m.

    200 million tax cut....400 million new taxes, great.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Dec. 7, 2018 8:05 a.m.

    To "FT" they will do that the same day that they propose taxing Unions.

    You do know that churches provide many services at a much lower cost than the government could provide them. There are also all of the well documented socioeconomic benefits from churches that again save the government money.

    We know that you and many like you want the LDS church to only do what you want them to. However, they won't just sit by and obey your will.

    Why would you want to tax organizations that save taxpayers money?

  • John Mabey Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2018 6:56 a.m.

    What impact will federal tax reform have on Utah tax revenues? That should be a huge tax policy discussion as State tax returns start piling up April 15, 2019.

  • Schwa Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2018 4:41 a.m.

    "Broaden the base" is code for taxing poor people.

  • t_mca Herriman, UT
    Dec. 7, 2018 12:41 a.m.

    I'm ok with broadening the base when it comes to new tech and services, but don't tax roads. I don't want Utah to end up with East Coast or California style toll roads.

  • old cuss 101 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 11:22 p.m.

    There was reason in an earlier day to not put a sales tax on goods and services. It was because such services are immediately taxed as income to the laborer and a sales tax on such puts an unreasonable burden on that stream of money through the economy.

    It is smoke and mirrors to complain that sales tax is diminishing as a percent of total taxes, yet absolute revenue from the sales taxe is higher than ever. C'mon Governor...

    Of all the tax circumstances to correct, the one of untaxed e-cigarettes, i.e. solids, liquids, vapors and anything like unto it is the place to start. Same tax per unit of nicotine and the like as on cigarettes!

    I voted against raising the gas tax to fund education because it was a subterfuge. We need to adequately fund transportation and education through related channels. We need more money for roads, but miles driven go up while gas consumption goes down. There is no transportation related tax on electricity used to power automobiles. Need to fix that. Education is a general fund responsibility as no other basis has a direct correlation to student population, or the ability to reliably handle the huge fixed cost.

  • captainAmerica Orem, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 10:53 p.m.

    Not enough space in the world to correct all the nonsense spouted on here by people who fear taxes more than death.

    water rocket - more people moving into the state is not a panacea. Those people require additional services - schools, road maintenance, water, power, etc., etc. If the revenue generated per each new resident is not equal to the cost of providing those services (particularly if that tax base shrinks over time) then you set the state up for an unsustainable situation down the road. Better to restructure taxes now, then have to pay dramatic increases later. That's one correction, most of the rest of the comments on here boil down to "anything that isn't blindly chopping taxes is evil." Sure it is guys, sure it is. Glad nobody on here is running this state.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 10:19 p.m.

    I like the idea of taxing water use and roads. Where we are faced with near-constant dry conditions, even drought conditions, letting citizens understand the true cost of water, and taxing as a means to reward conservation, is smart political, economic, and environmental policy. Likewise, taxing transportation/roads will encourage carpooling and public transportation, reducing air pollution. As our population grows we need to have policies that encourage wise use of our water and other resources, and policies that help encourage healthy air.

    See, Republicans do care about air and water.

  • Holy-Schamoly-What Baloney Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 9:47 p.m.

    BEWARE UTAH CITIZENS --- Whenever there's a surplus, taxes go UP in Utah!! It's the GOP way of being conservative. They're going to grab their share and more every chance because Politics 101 is: "Learn to spend someone else's money for what you want or whatever will make you popular and get you re-elected.....This gig will last as long as you play that game successfully."

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 9:41 p.m.

    LOOK OUT: The Goal (obviously) is to TAKE IN MORE REVENUE and this is just a perceived way to make it less objectionable.

    Why not eliminate State Income Tax on Social Security? If you want to help those who've paid for the government schools, military, etc for 30 - 40 years and given the Feds a free loan out of the money they earned during that time and ALREADY paid income tax (both State and Federal) on it already when they earned it, QUIT COLLECTING ON IT AGAIN!! Why do we need to pay income tax on money we paid on when we earned it and put in is SS and are now just getting our own money back? That's like taking food when purchased and again when you need the sewer line. Give seniors a break---not many of them have extra to spare---it's food or medicine but not both for many of them. They have ponied up for 40 years...hold the line on property taxes for them, too. Raise it for the next owner when the house sells after the funeral. Sheesh---tax us to death....

  • Justiciaparatodos Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 9:01 p.m.

    Wow, Governor Herbert, this whole thing sounds like a shell game as someone said.

    Water Rocket nailed it in his comment. We are already paying unprecedented amounts of taxes in Utah, especially in the Salt Lake County where our property taxes have become unbearable. This tax cut the governor talks about sounds like a pittance while he is proposing to start taxing haircuts of all things - sheesh.

    All I can say citizens is take your money and hide it somewhere good before the state government comes and confiscates the whole of it!

  • AlSwearengen Ogden, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 8:54 p.m.

    Give me back the percentage of the $1.3 billion I overpaid.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 8:41 p.m.

    Smoke and mirrors Gov if you are cutting taxes only to raise other ones. You aren't putting more money in people's pockets when you do this. We aren't stupid you know.

    If you are going to raise taxes do it on pop, candy, ice cream, and a lot of the things that are not good for people's short or long-term health. Water doesn't fit into that category. The biggest thing we have to fear with our liberty is being taxed to death. Look at all the people leaving California and some other places because they are tired of being taxed to death. Utah should learn from them and not make the same mistakes.

  • kranny utah, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 6:16 p.m.

    Should we clap our hands like a bunch of complicit showtime seals? Government overreach, both on State and National levels, is a greater threat to liberty than any outside force. As citizens, we have just caved to the idea that big government is necessary to even survive. Start downsizing government on all levels, then maybe true prosperity will occur. We were not placed here to be acted upon from cradle to grave.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    Dec. 6, 2018 4:58 p.m.

    Hired a young man from Utah gave him his first check.

    I saw his eyes widen with suprise. I asked him if there was a problem?

    He asked if the check was correct.

    I told him it was correct. I explained to him that Utah taxes are high compared to most states.

    He was very pleased to be working out of Utah.

  • Cedarite Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 1:15 p.m.

    The logic that broadening the base, taxing more things and then lowering the rate adds up to a tax cut doesn't pan out when you add the local sales taxes on top of the state ones. If the state will tax food and services, the localities will be tacking on their cut too.

    Given the recent history of turning the new online sales taxes over to a tax break for certain industries, I think it's safe to assume that this is all just a shell game and we'll all end up paying more to benefit specific interests.

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 12:32 p.m.

    For FT Salt Lake City. Politicians can' tax churches, period. It would be a violation of the constitution, however, I wonder why ANY politician would "broaden the tax base" and claim Utah's tax base is "shrinking". We have unprecedented population growth (more tax payers), we have a housing boom (more construction jobs, plus more property taxes), we have businesses moving here in droves (also more jobs and income taxes), plus, we now have the online sales tax we didn't have in the past. As far as I can see is that this is a carrot to lure us into agreeing to have more taxes. I am all for a tax cut (it is long over due), but I oppose ANY new taxes, of any kind.

  • rhodger Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 12:23 p.m.

    The bottom line, like most Republican tax cuts, the rich will benefit significantly but those less fortunate will have a a tax burden that takes a proportionally greater bite out of their disposable income.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 11:56 a.m.

    When will a politician have the guts to propose taxing churches when its obvious so many of them have crossed the line and are openly lobbying and running for profit organizations?

  • marybeshaw Pleasant Grove, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 11:47 a.m.

    I wonder how much of the surplus came from Amazon sales tax collection.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 11:39 a.m.

    This is a common sense proposal. The governor is right to broaden the base given the huge shift towards services versus goods in our economy. Hopefully Utah taxpayers won't just knee-jerk react to adding sales tax on certain services. The good thing about sales taxes is that you can avoid them by not buying the product or service. And taxes automatically fall when people make and spend less money. The people and the government budgets go the same direction.

    Cutting the overall rate of taxation while letting the dollars rise with the economy makes sense.

  • Harrison Bergeron Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 11:34 a.m.

    I love living in a state where there are discussions about how best to allocate a surplus and the best way to cut taxes.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 6, 2018 11:31 a.m.

    I would like to see an actual conservative governor elected.

    ALL politicians like to "say" they're conservative - right up until they raise taxes.

    State and local (especially local)governments have come to believe that "our money is their money", and if they have anything left over after they spend whatever they want, that we may keep some for our own needs.

    It needs to be 180 degrees opposite that thinking!