Elected officials in Utah like to cite a variety of accolades, like “Best Managed State”, “Best State for Business”, and the list goes on and on. But if you have been paying attention to your taxes the past few years, you wouldn’t know it. Here’s a list of a few of the different taxes that have been raised in the past few years:
- State and local property taxes
- Gas taxes
- Phones (including cell phones)
- Local sales taxes
And then don’t forget the list of taxes that Utah has thought about raising or is currently considering proposals for increases:
- Internet Sales Tax
- Income Tax
- State sales tax
- Food Tax
- Local tax/fee increases
Each of these taxes are being raised by elected government officials or by voters themselves. Should it be as easy as getting a majority vote to be able to raise taxes on your neighbors—or have them raise your taxes?
The list of tax increases above seems to show that the standard for elected officials to commit legal plunder is too low.
One policy proposal that has been implemented in some other states is a requirement of a 2/3rds vote when passing a tax increase. Whether it’s a vote in the legislature or a vote by the public, a tax increase should be treated with additional scrutiny and consideration because government is forcibly taking an individual’s hard-earned money.
A 2/3rds threshold would also cause government entities to think twice before proposing any tax increases, and instead find ways to cut costs, re-prioritize budgets, and focus on core services. The reality is that if Utah doesn’t do something to reign in its tax increases, we won’t be the best managed state for much longer.
Check out our video about this topic as well.
Michael is director of policy, overseeing Libertas' legislative and advocacy efforts. Prior to joining Libertas he was a legislative aide for a Utah state senator and the state government affairs manager for Waterford Institute, a digital education non-profit. Michael has also managed and worked on dozens of campaigns around the country, which included directing the Trafalgar Group's nationally recognized polling operations in 2016.