But some think the Utah State Legislature can do better. Public comment from taxpayer advocacy groups and activists argued the legislature can go lower in the income tax rate. Others said the legislature should offer no tax cut and instead spend it on more pressing social service needs.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Senate GOP leaders signaled that the rate might go lower when the bill makes its way to the House of Representatives. The 4.85% rate may just be a starting point in budget negotiations on Capitol Hill.
But leaders in both parties cautioned about going too low.
“We’re trying to balance fiscally, being careful and conservative and also some return to our taxpayers and in addition to that, funding some high priorities,” said Senate Majority Whip Ann Millner, R-Ogden. “We want education, we’re concerned about water.”
Senate Minority Whip Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, warned of having to slash vital government programs if an economic bubble bursts.
“Let’s be clear that money is probably not going to be there next year and the following year so we need to be cautious and not jump and really end up in a situation where we’re going to be cutting programs and services,” she said.
Lawmakers have hinted at other tax cuts coming, including doing more with Social Security. There is also discussion about an earned income tax credit for some of Utah’s most needy. Advocates for lower-income Utahns have been rallying people to pressure lawmakers to pass a bill to eliminate the state portion of the sales tax on food. The Crossroads Urban Center recently launched an online campaign of people writing on paper plates their demands for the bill to pass.