If approved, the combined state and local sales tax in San Juan County will increase from 5.95% to 6.20% countywide, in some cities it will increase to almost 7%– a change that will increase taxes
in San Juan by $40 per person and $160 for an average family of four every year. This could mean the difference between a week or more of groceries for many families.
Utah families have had enough new taxes this year as it is. The local option sales tax would be the third tax increase Utah residents have faced this year. In March, the legislature voted to approve a 5-cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax, which now means that Utah drivers will pay over 48-cents-per-gallon just in taxes every time they fill up the tank. The state legislature also raised homeowner’s property taxes in the state an average of $50 per home.
Considered separately, these tax increases may not sound like much, but for lower-income and middle-class families, every dollar counts and higher local sales taxes would only make their financial struggles worse.
Like the gas tax increase, this sales tax will fall hardest on those who have little or nothing left at the end of the month. According to the Utah Taxpayers Association, the average Utahn already pays $720 in sales taxes every year, and $3,304 in combined state and local taxes. The local option tax would add a few cents to most purchases, which quickly adds up.
If the sales tax increase is passed, Utahns would pay a quarter of a cent more for all purchases. In San Juan County, this increased sales tax would scrape $582,000 out of our checkbooks, according to the state’s own analysis.
Supporters say that the proposed tax increase is, in part, for road and infrastructure improvement. But elected officials can choose to spend this money on trails, bike lanes and sidewalks instead of road improvement. Trails are nice but we should consider needs versus wants when asking to increase taxes on San Juan County families already facing two other tax increases.
Instead, our government should be looking toward prioritizing existing funds, cutting down on waste, and reducing inefficiencies wherever they find them.
Government doesn’t need more money—it needs to better prioritize where it spends the taxes we already pay.
Please vote NO on Proposition 1.