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Governor Herbert answers questions on tax reform during KSL News Radio’s “Let Me Speak to the Governor”

FILE

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Governor Gary Herbert took questions from KSL News Radio listeners about medical marijuana, eminent domain, and the Inland Port during “Let Me Speak to the Governor” Thursday afternoon. But the topic most people wanted to know about was the upcoming tax reform bill.

A common question asked of Governor Herbert was why he agrees with state legislative leaders on the need for tax reform with a healthy economy in Utah and good overall tax revenues.

Herbert answered that economists also agreed that the state should restructure its tax code and believes Utah is being proactive about a problem, unlike the politicians in Washington, D.C.

“That’s not the way we do it in Utah…So the question is, is it sustainable? Do we have [a] long term approach here? Is it fair?” Herbert said.

Utah’s general fund has a $43 million projected deficit this year as more people shop online and use web-based services.

A bill being drafted in the state legislature would levy sales taxes on most services to make up the difference–everything from Hulu to dance lessons.

Governor Herbert was also asked if he would support raising the sales tax on food, which polling shows is unpopular with the public. Herbert indicated many times that tax credits should accompany any raise in rates.

“Broadening out the base and lowering the rate is still a good concept for tax policy. If, in fact, we put the tax back on food, it should be done in such a way to make sure that those who’re most vulnerable amongst us have access and affordability to food,” Herbert said.

The first draft of the tax reform bill is expected to be revealed during a legislative committee meeting on November 7th.