It’s Time for Utah to Rethink Gas Taxes, Not Raise Them

As the legislative session is set to begin, one of the biggest rumblings coming out of the legislature have been around increasing gasoline taxes and/or indexing future gas taxes to gas prices. While there is definitely a case to be made for increasing the funding for our roads, it is time to look at better options for funding them instead of just raising taxes. With the current proposal on the table, the gas tax would go up by around 10 cents a gallon initially and then be further adjusted on a yearly basis…

The Herbert Budget Anticipates a Tax Hike

[Correction: page 22 of Governor Herbert’s budget proposal contains a tax hike on e-cigarette’s by changing how they are considered under Utah law. According to page 22 of the Governor’s proposal, the change is worth an anticipated $10 million.H/t Robert Gehrke] A Big Boost to Education To much fanfare, Governor Gary Herbert released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2016 on Thursday. The budget proposes the largest increase to education funding in 25 years, and that’s laudable. Delaying Medicaid Expansion Costs and Betting on the Future In addition to boosting education funding (which…

UTA’s $2 Billion Debt Means Higher Sales Taxes On The Way

The Utah Transit Authority is a sort of government agency which is mostly funded by taxpayers. It gets some federal government grant money, has some fare revenue, and charges a bit to advertise on its buses and trains. But by far the bulk of its revenue comes from state sales taxes. And it’s asking for more. A few years ago UTA made the decision to go all in on FrontRunner and Trax lines. They scaled back bus routes and piled money into building train infrastructure. And they racked up $2…

Many Reasons to Say ‘No’ to UTOPIA [The Hub Debate]

This is  a Hub Debate on the proposed Macquarie acquisition of UTOPIA. Participate in the comments or submit a response for publication to UtahPoliticoHub@gmail.com. Resolved: “UTOPIA cities are being offered a lifeline by Macquarie and, despite the estimated $18 to $20 per household utility fee increase, should take the deal.” Taxpayers in UTOPIA, Utah’s largest and most spectacularly failing municipal telecom system, have many reasons to “say uNOpia to UTOPIA.” First, a $1.8 billion tax hike is preposterous. Second, UTOPIA failed throughout its 10-year history. Third, it’s wrong to require every resident and business…

UTA: Doubling Down on Failure

Imagine for a moment that you own shares in a company. This company has had a history of disappointing financial results and hasn’t hit their financial targets for a long time. Nevertheless, you own a part of it and you hope that one day your investment will be worth something. At the shareholders’ meeting last year, the CEO and Board of Directors put forth a proposal to bonus the executives based on a series of criteria. If they hit each of 5 targets, they would be given a bonus. At…

A Piece of Reaganomics: Helping Utah Families Get Ahead

Post by Tracy Gruber, Esq. Last week, Utah lawmakers took an important first step toward reducing state taxes and bolstering the pocketbooks of low- and moderate-income working taxpayers struggling to make ends meet. The Working Individuals and Families Credit (HB218)—a tax credit based on the federal Earned Income Tax Credit—received initial approval from the Revenue and Taxation Committee and the bill now moves to the Utah House for a vote. Although Utah’s economy is rebounding, many Utah workers remain poor. Many of our new jobs are not providing salaries sufficient…

Cut From the Same Cloth?

There is a fundamental question making its way around the Capitol this session: should taxes be tied to users? For example, should those that drive more pay more for roads through gas taxes or tolls? Or should those directly utilizing our public schools pay more towards education? These items never quite correlate exactly, but there has always been a sense especially among conservatives that user taxes are better policy.

Education funding: How much more do we spend before we fix it?

Education has long been “the third rail” of Utah politics. Grab the rail, and it will shock you. The education our children receive now, is vital to not only the future of our state, but the entire nation. Investing in education now, means educated adults later, which in turn provides a better work force and a stronger society. Not just economically, but in the idea of “community” as well. However, Education gets a free pass in the media, as well as the legislature as a whole. Lets sit back and…