2015 Bills

HB54: Increasing the Income Tax Rate in Utah

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Libertas Institute opposes this bill.

In an effort to provide more money to the government education system, Representative Jack Draxler has sponsored House Bill 54, which would increase the individual income tax rate in Utah from 5% to 6%, forcibly taking an additional $585 million from Utahns.

The Utah Republican Party, of which Rep. Draxler is a member, calls for “broad-based rate reduction” of taxes in its platform. Draxler disagrees, arguing that “For too long we have danced around this issue.” The Representative also recently pushed for increasing taxes on alcohol in the state, but his proposal failed in committee.

HB54, if enacted into law, would require an additional $5-700 annually from each Utah family. The sponsor notes that his bill “would raise a substantial amount of money,” but believes it is necessary to retain and attract qualified teachers in the government school system.

We disagree. Assuming that it is necessary, however, does not necessitate a general tax increase. We remain fixed in our belief that secondary government services, including education, should move to user fee model whereby those who use a service are required to finance it. At a minimum, families educating their children outside the government school system should be exempt from this proposed increase, as they already bear education costs for their children in addition to taxation requirements to finance the education of others’ children.