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Lawmakers looking for lower tax rates but more revenues

The 2018 Utah Legislative Session begins Monday. Tax reform is one of the biggest issues they will be facing.

Both Utah’s governor and House Speaker Greg Hughes used the term “broaden the base and lower the rate.”

But first they have to figure out what federal tax reform means for state revenues. The Deseret news reports:

The question of what the impact the $1.5 trillion tax cut just passed by Congress will have on state income tax collections is expected to be answered at least in part Monday, the start of the 45-day legislative session.

If it’s a windfall, that means not only will there will be more money to spend, there will be enough to cut taxes, too. That’s something leaders of the GOP-controlled Legislature already have expressed interest in doing.

But if there turns out to be little or no additional revenue, it’ll be back to business as usual with lawmakers juggling an ever-growing list of budget requests. Because this is an election year for most lawmakers, there will still be a push to reduce taxes.

Legislative fiscal analysts had previously projected there could be an additional $75 million to $100 million in income tax revenues for the budget year that begins July 1, on top of the $4.45 billion already projected.

However, the nation’s new tax law has turned out to be so complicated that the fiscal analysts, along with Gov. Gary Herbert’s budget office and the Utah State Tax Commission, are scrambling to figure out the impact.

On Monday, they’re expected to jointly announce there may be more money depending on how the IRS handles a hefty new tax break for small businesses and professionals who file individual rather than corporate income tax returns.