If you’ve ever been to Utah, you’ve probably heard mention of the “Utah way.” The Utah way describes a state that stands firm in the face of government overreach, protects industry, and helps improve the quality of life for its citizens
This legislative cycle, the “Utah way” means returning hard-earned money back to Utah’s taxpayers.
Currently, Utah’s government is flush with cash. Fiscally responsible policies have allowed the state to prosper while allowing a large accumulation of cash by the government.
Lawmakers in the state had about $1.2 billion in excess revenue to spend when the 2022 legislative session started last month. $1 billion of that is one-time cash, which usually goes toward buildings or construction. The remaining $219 million is ongoing.
The amount of extra revenue is bigger, closer to $3 billion, but lawmakers have already spent or earmarked some funds.
With so much excess, lawmakers are rightly choosing to return some of these excess funds to the taxpayers from which they were collected in the form of sweeping tax cuts. Lawmakers should be applauded for this decision to return their excess funds to citizens.
Too often, governments with excess revenues choose the other route. Instead of instituting policies that return this money to the people from which it came, governments and lawmakers will opt to use these funds to further expand intrusive and excessive government programs.
In these instances, not only is big government bolstered, but it sends a resounding message to the people it is meant to represent that it knows best when it comes to what citizens need and want.
This is preposterous. It is individual citizens that know their needs and desires best. This is exactly why tax cuts are a responsible way for Utah’s lawmakers to deal with their large war chest of funds. Tax cuts return money to the pockets of the public, who can then have the freedom to spend those funds as they deem appropriate for their individual circumstances.
Specific tax cuts that can be expected this legislative session that will have direct positive impacts on the wallets of Utahns include:
- Senate Bill 59, sponsored by Senator Dan McCay, would reduce Utah’s income tax rate from 4.95% to 4.85%. This would essentially return $160 million to Utah taxpayers.
- Senate Bill 25, sponsored by Senator Lincoln Filmore, would create a property tax deferment program for Utah’s seniors. This would alleviate some of the financial stress rising property taxes creates and the possibility of this population losing their homes.
- Senate Bill 93, also sponsored by Senator Lincoln Filmore, would exempt supplies used in business from personal property tax and exempt some personal property from sales and use tax.
Additionally, proposals related to tax cuts could include an increase in the Social Security tax credit, the creation of an earned income tax credit, and the elimination of sales tax on food items.
All of these proposals will make sure that citizens can bolster their quality of life in substantial ways. This increase in quality of life is something that the government can afford. These tax cuts provide a measured way to help the public but will not detract from the government’s ability to fund current programs.
For example, public schools are set to receive an additional $335 million, $125 million has been earmarked for cost-of-living increases for state employees, and another $20 million has been set aside to increase the salaries of law enforcement.
Tax cuts move the dial away from government overreach while protecting citizens and increasing incentives for businesses. It is clear that tax cuts fall in line with the “Utah way,” which has made the state successful for decades.