SALZSTADT (KUTV) –
After promising some form of tax break at that meeting, Utah lawmakers said Monday they are working to pass around $ 100 million in tax cuts and tax exemptions for families, veterans and senior citizens in Utah.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, House and Senate leaders announced that they were prioritizing three bills that focus on tax cuts. All three invoices are at different points in the process and have received broad support so far.
“Today we want to try to put money back in the hands of the Utahns who need it most, particularly families, veterans and seniors in Utah,” said Senate President Stuart Adams (R-Layton).
The first part of the tax break plan is Senate Bill 153, sponsored by Senator Lincoln Fillmore (R-South Jordan). This would increase the amount that taxpayers can charge for dependents.
“This is something that can help us and our families,” said Anthony Neil, a 26-year-old Vineyard resident. He and his wife Megan have three children. Anthony works, studies, practices at the Capitol, and serves in the Utah National Guard. Life is busy and money goes fast.
“Getting our tax returns is always great and it will be even more helpful when we get more of it back,” said Megan Neil.
Fillmore, the billing sponsor, said the increase in dependent deductions would result in “hundreds of dollars” in tax savings for Utah families after seeing an increase in 2017 due to federal tax law.
“That caused a big tax hike for middle-income families in Utah,” said Fillmore, “and we just want to restore that.”
The other two tax breaks are aimed at veterans and seniors. Senate Bill 11, sponsored by Senator Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, would waive a tax credit on military retirement income. House Bill 86, sponsored by Rep. Walt Brooks (R-St. George), would lower taxes on Social Security income.
“As elected officials, it is absolutely our responsibility to use tax dollars for the utmost benefit of Utahns,” said Brad Wilson Wilson (R-Kaysville), speaker of the House of Representatives. “Sometimes that actually means giving it back to Utahns.”
This plan is substantial, but not as high as some had hoped. 2News reported a call for an income tax cut of $ 250 million, but House spokesman Brad Wilson said plans this year did not include it.
“We’d like to cut rates at some point,” said Wilson. He said the legislation this year has focused on specific proposals that would help the populations who need it.
We look forward to possibly more doing next year, ”added Adams.
But the Utah Taxpayers Association is still pushing for an income tax cut. Rusty Cannon, the organization’s vice president, told 2News that they don’t have a “crying uncle” yet, with eight days left in the legislature.
“A general rate cut is fairest for all people because it covers all taxpayers,” Cannon said.
Monday’s press conference came days after the state announced it would provide additional and ongoing funding of $ 1.5 billion. Heads of state said they wanted to introduce “a significant tax cut,” plus more money for public education and increased participation in Medicaid’s expansion.
The legislative period runs until March 5th.
This report has been updated with additional information since it was first published.