Plan to Make Tax Hikes More Difficult Fails

(KCPW News) A constitutional amendment that would have made it much harder to raise taxes in Utah failed in the legislature’s House Revenue and Taxation Committee yesterday. Republican Representative Carl Wimmer’s plan would have required two-thirds of the legislature or any locally elected body to approve a tax hike, rather than a simple majority. Seven lawmakers agreed with Wimmer, while seven others said the amendment attempts to fix something that isn’t broken, pointing to Utah’s status as one of the best managed states in the nation. Democratic Representative Joel Briscoe said he’s concerned to hear all taxes being described as thoughtless and harmful.

“The people I’ve dealt with on both sides of the aisle up here I don’t think are levying taxes capriciously,” said Briscoe. “We band together as a society to make a better life for all of us or we go off into the hills and get our 500 days supply and our weapons and our ammo and our food and our generator and let’s live on our own.”

But Wimmer said raising taxes is equally important as impeachments, removal from office and constitutional amendments, all of which require a two-thirds supermajority as well.

“And if you don’t believe so just ask your constituents who are working two or three jobs just to maintain their home,” Wimmer argued. “Those constituents who are working two or three jobs just to pay their mortgage. Ask them if they don’t believe that the raising of taxes should be as difficult as amending the state constitution, impeachments or removal from office.”

Because of the tie vote, the resolution failed to advance out of committee. Wimmer said he will most likely revive it another year.

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