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Davis Journal

Capitol Corner

Feb 27, 2023 10:01AM ● By Becky Ginos

Bill would remove state sales tax on food

HB101 1st Sub Food Sales Tax Amendments, that would remove the state portion of sales tax on food, is moving through the legislature. It is contingent on removing the constitutional earmark for income tax revenue laid out in SJR10. Currently, the Utah Constitution mandates all income tax revenue be used only for certain items.

If HB101 1st Sub passes and voters approve it in the 2024 general election, eliminating the state sales tax on food would result in a $200 million total tax reduction, a legislative release said.

“The way our budget is structured, income tax is used only to fund higher and public education, children and people with disabilities,” said Sen. Ann Millner. “Education has and will continue to be a priority in our state. Over the last few years, we have made historic investments in education, showing our commitment to Utah students and the education community. Under the current budget structure, sales tax on food helps to fund all state needs, including Medicaid, homeless programs, public safety, courts, parks, etc. To continue funding these needed programs without the sales tax on food, we will need to restructure the budget.”

“Utah is the only state in the nation that has these types of budget constraints,” said Rep. Mike Schultz. “We can’t remove the sales tax on food and continue to efficiently balance the state budget. I’m excited to give citizens the opportunity to make the final decision at the ballot box next November.”

The bill was scheduled to be heard in the House Revenue and taxation Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 21.

Tax relief proposal announced

The Utah Legislature has reduced taxes by nearly $300 million over the past two years. In an effort to keep Utah’s commitment to reduce taxes, the Senate and House Majority Caucuses propose an additional $400 million in tax relief for Utahns, a legislative release said.

 H.B. 54 Tax Revisions, sponsored by Rep. Steve Eliason and Sen. Daniel McCay, includes:

• Reducing all Utahns’ income tax rate from 4.85% to 4.65%.

• Expanding Social Security tax credit eligibility to individuals earning up to $75,000 per year.

• Providing a tax benefit for pregnant women by allowing a double dependent exemption for children in the year of their birth.

• Increasing the earned income tax credit (EITC) from 15% to 20% of the federal credit.


By lowering Utah’s income tax to 4.65%, an average family of four making $80,000 a year will see a $208 reduction in tax liability.

• Low-income households will see about a 22% tax cut.

• Middle-income households will see about a 6% tax cut.

• High-income households will see about a 4% tax cut.


“2023 will be the year of the tax cut again, again, again,” said Senate President J. Stuart Adams in a release. “For the third year in a row, we will return money to the hard-working Utahns who earned it. We will continue to promote long-term investments that help families, individuals and businesses succeed. We will also fund education at record levels and address pressing issues facing our state, including Utah’s water crisis. The foresight of years past has enabled our economy to be the envy of the nation, and we are committed to having the same foresight that has and will continue to produce a strong and stable economy.”

“We firmly believe money is best used when left in the pockets of our citizens and we’ve clearly demonstrated that the past few years,” said Speaker Brad Wilson. “The Legislature is constantly looking at ways to reduce taxes while being fiscally responsible and good stewards of our resources. The best way we can ensure Utahns can continue calling Utah home is by passing family and business-friendly policies, including reducing taxes. I am thrilled that we once again are considering historic tax relief and know Utahns will benefit for years to come.” 

H.B. 54 was scheduled to be heard in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 21.