(KCPW News) Republican State Senator Howard Stephenson is calling on the legislature to slash the income tax during the next legislative session. But he also wants an increase in the food tax, restoring it to its original rate of 4.75 percent. Stephenson says a lower income tax is better for the economy than a lower food tax.
“I’m proposing a cut in income taxes, because that is the most significant deterrent to good-paying jobs in the state of Utah,” he told KCPW. “We reduced, a while back, the income tax and the food sales tax. I believe we should have reduced the income tax more than we did and left the food sales tax where it was.”
Stephenson says by raising the food tax, the income tax could be cut from 5.3 percent to 5 percent.
But state Democratic Party Executive Director Todd Taylor says an income tax cut would hurt public schools, since income taxes are entirely dedicated to education in Utah, while the food tax is not.
“That’s simply a tax shift, putting taxes on the backs of the people who can least afford it, and taking it out of the education system that’s already underfunded by a billion dollars a year, based on the tax shifts that have taken place over the last decade,” said Taylor.
Senator Stephenson’s proposal also includes a tax credit for lower income residents to offset the higher food tax. But Taylor says it’s inefficient to take money out of people’s pockets now and give it back to them later.