Legislature scuttles HB 441…for now

Legislature scuttles HB 441…for now

Even though Utah House GOP leaders claim they had the votes to pass a huge sales tax reform bill Friday, after a scurry of meetings and top-level discussion on Capitol Hill Thursday, GOP Governor Gary Herbert and Republican legislative leaders decided to scuttle HB 441 for now, study the whole issue for several months while traveling the state getting citizen input, and then meet in a spring or early summer special session to reform state sales taxes and broaden the base to include thousands of services not now taxed. The bill was promoted as a tax cut bill by the Governor and Legislature, but in actuality it was a tax reform bill. The public outcry from the business community and citizens forced the Governor and legislative leaders to reconsider passing the bill now. House Leader Brad Wilson, Senate President Stuart Adams, and Governor Herbert, in a hastily called press conference yesterday, said it was wiser policy to take a bit more time, listen to more Utahns, educate more Utahns, and come up with a “consensus” sales tax reform bill. Some Senators were publicly supportive of the concept, but many were privately skeptical whether the plan to impose sales taxes on hundreds of services in the state would work. After a series of public and private meetings throughout the state – where business people whose services will soon be taxed can come, express their views, and hopefully better understand the “structural” tax problems facing the state, Governor Herbert said he will call a special session – maybe late spring, maybe early summer, to consider the bill.