After preliminary counts showed the Utah tax reform referendum would be put to voters on the November ballot, the governor and state legislative leaders announced Thursday morning the tax bill will be fully repealed.
State leaders announced in a press release Thursday that Senate Bill 2001, the tax bill the legislature passed in a December special session, will be fully repealed and ready for the governor’s signature by the end of next week.
As approved, the new tax law included a $160 million tax cut. It decreased the income tax rate; raised the tax on groceries and gas; and placed sales tax on some services. A bill will be introduced on Monday, the first day of the session, to repeal those amendments to the tax code. The statement from Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says the repeal will allow the legislature to plan next year’s budget without the uncertainty of the referendum possibly changing the tax code in November.
Referendum organizer Gina Cornia told KPCW she believes the legislature is responding to the overwhelming support for the referendum, and she feels lawmakers need to weigh all the concerns expressed by those who signed the referendum petition. Internal data from the referendum group show more than 170,000 Utahns supported the referendum. Cornia says those supporters opposed the increased sales tax on food and felt the legislature ignored public input.
The statement from state leaders says the legislature must still work to fix what it views as a “revenue imbalance” between the education and general funds, but they’re encouraged that Utahns who signed the petition will help find a policy solution.