Utah legislative leaders will make tax policy a priority in 2022

Republicans in Utah have said they will also focus on issues of water, education and infrastructure during the general legislative session, which begins Jan. 18.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Senate Speaker Stuart Adams R-Layton conducts his activities at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 5, 2021, during the final day of the 2021 general session of the ‘Utah Legislative Assembly.

Utah Senate Speaker Stuart Adams calls 2022 “the year of the tax cut,” while state lawmakers have forecast nearly $ 160 million in cuts.

“One of the challenges in Utah is that we are using income tax to fund education and we will continue to fund education,” said Adams, who made his remarks Wednesday at the conference. annual Utah Taxpayer Legislative Outlook Conference in Salt Lake City. “It’s going to continue to happen. We just have to find other ways to do it.

Layton’s Republican said the Senate was prioritizing the state’s water issues, such as the Bear River Project, infrastructure and education in the next general session.

Adams said rising inflation and the “workforce crisis” are recurring problems facing the state, attributing both problems to federal spending. US inflation hit 7% in December – a level not seen since 1982, the US Department of Labor reported on Wednesday.

“We as a state cannot let inflation continue,” Adams told the crowd on Wednesday. “In Utah, we believe in the industry. We believe in hard work.

“When we pay people to stay at home, it (not) only affects their productivity, but it affects their mental health,” he said, referring to unemployment assistance authorized by the government. Congress during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We have to get people back to work. “

As Utah’s population continues to grow, Adams said doubling down on the Utah Transit Authority’s FrontRunner would be key to creating innovative infrastructure, like a faster commuter train.

“We have to be able to move people faster, more efficiently in Utah, and we have to really look beyond some of the priorities that we have today and beyond the next two years because we’re going grow, “said the President of the Senate. noted.

In order to fund the rail project, House Speaker Brad Wilson said lawmakers were proposing to use a portion of the state’s one-time revenue to pay the leader’s double-tracking in cash instead of bonds.

“This will save the state of Utah $ 30 million over the next fifteen years,” he said.

Wilson, R-Kaysville, said that to make life more affordable for Utahns, lawmakers need to ensure that state tax policies allow people to keep more of their money.

“We all think the state of Utah is less affordable and more expensive to live in,” Wilson said, and that policymakers could help fix the problem.

Wilson said the House’s priorities include preserving the Great Salt Lake, innovation in education, and creating economic development incentives for high-demand industries.

“The optimal policy for a state facing growth like ours is really delicate. We need to find the balance between a low tax environment that fosters innovation and investment. But also, we need to have sufficient tax revenue for the state of Utah so that we can make prudent and forward-looking investments in future generations who depend on us today to make decisions for them tomorrow, ”he said. he declared.

During the conference, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson reiterated that the Cox administration’s budget proposal for 2022 includes tax relief for low-income families in the form of a “home tax credit”. grocery store “.

Under the budget proposal, a single parent earning $ 20,000 a year and raising two children would qualify for a $ 240 grocery tax credit. A family of eight with a family income of $ 100,000 would potentially qualify for a $ 400 credit.

This year, Utah lawmakers are proposing various tax laws, including a bill from State Senator Daniel McCay, R-Riverton, which reduce the income tax rate from 4.95% to 4.6%.

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