SALT LAKE CITY – A coalition of religious leaders, anti-hunger activists and Democratic lawmakers have come together to call on the Utah state legislature to eliminate the sales tax on food.
As FOX 13 first reported last week, the legislature has around $ 1.7 billion in revenue and surplus from a booming economy and an injection of stimulus dollars. federal. With so much money, say the activists, it’s time to eliminate the 1.75% state sales tax on groceries (up to 3% when local sales tax options are factored in).
“I just can’t imagine storing a billion dollars and then saying ‘Well we’re going to take $ 14 from everyone,’” Reverend Vinnetta Golphin-Wilkerson of the Granger Community Christian Church told West Valley City, referring to the amount of average tax collected for groceries in a month.
The Reverend Golphin-Wilkerson Church operates a pantry which she says has continuously seen record numbers of people asking for help.
Alex Cragun of Utahns Against Hunger said eliminating the food tax would help those who struggle to keep what they have.
“The tax on groceries is the most impacting low-income families when it comes to your daily existence,” he said.
But the legislature has continuously rejected a total repeal of the sales tax on groceries. In previous bills they increased the tax on groceries while reducing other taxes the Utahns pay. The House of Representatives passed one, but it failed in the Senate. In an interview with FOX 13 on Wednesday, Gov. Spencer Cox said he was not opposed to the idea of repealing it.
“We’re looking at it for sure. It’s something we’re interested in,” he said.
A small income tax cut has already been introduced for the Utah state legislature in 2022, but Governor Cox said there could be more.
“We’re going to do a tax cut this year. I think there’s broad agreement on that. What does that look like? We’re working on ideas on that,” he said. told FOX 13. “Maybe a family tax credit that will help them with the food and the rising inflation that we’re seeing right now.”
Coalition members were not in favor of a tax credit.
“People who live from hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck, can’t wait for a refund at the end of the year,” said Rev. Golphin-Wilkerson. “And some of these people don’t make enough money to file their case. It’s just not the best solution.”
House Democrats have announced that they will introduce a bill to eliminate the sales tax on groceries. But as a super-minority in the legislature, he would need broad Republican support.
“I hope that as a legislature we don’t waste the opportunity with insane tax cuts and instead do something that will really help our most vulnerable families,” said Rep. Jennifer Dailey-Provost, D -Salt Lake City.
If the legislature did not act, Bill Tibbitts of the Crossroads Urban Center acknowledged that a citizen vote initiative to force the repeal of the sales tax on groceries is possible.
“I don’t even want to talk about a ballot initiative. I think the legislator …” he said, later adding: “I think it is possible.”