Ever since the very first meeting of the Tax Reform Task Force in Brigham City, Utah on June 25th, Utah Legislative Watch has been raising the alarm about misinformation and group-think being used to push a false message that Utah’s tax system is broken.
We aren’t the only one with this opinion. On July 8, 2019, David Stringfellow, the Chief Economist of the State Auditor’s Office, in his role as a private citizen, publicly warned the Tax Reform Task Force that the Stronger Futures Utah information was faulty. Stringfellow says the information being pushed by the Tax Reoform Task Force is “wrong” and “a bad forecast.” Link to Salt Lake Tribune article is provided below.
With only one “listening tour” town hall remaining for the Tax Reform Taskforce, the claim that Utah’s tax system is broken becomes more and more suspect.
Despite being charged with the task of “verifying the challenge,” our policymakers have used the town hall meetings, and Utah tax dollars, as a propaganda campaign to convince Utah citizens that Utah’s tax system is in peril and must be saved! The source of the propaganda campaign, marketed under the obviously leading moniker “strongerfutures.utah.gov,” is shrouded in mystery. Who commissioned it? Has the data presented in the campaign been vetted? How much did it cost? All legitimate questions, considering that no money was appropriated for use by the Task Force to produce the materials. ULW has been looking into these questions and has submitted several GRAMA requests in hopes of finding answers. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, lawmakers continue to peddle misinformation about Utah tax reform. Even after HB441, the so called “Tax Equalization and Reduction Act,” was exposed as a huge tax increase, lawmakers continue to claim the Bill would have reduced taxes. The only problem, the Bill’s fiscal note states that it was projected to INCREASE taxes by nearly $500M over two years.
The deplorable Washington D.C. style tactics and continued false statements associated with HB441, and the tax reform debate, have seriously harmed Utahan’s trust in our State government. A terrible fact our policy-makers seemingly dismiss or willfully ignore.
The Task Force propaganda campaign is misinformation based on bad data and bad forecasts, all funded by our tax dollars. This should concern, if not infuriate, every Utah citizen!
Over the past several weeks, the Tax Reform Taskforce has been touring the state claiming that Utah’s Tax system is broken and must be fixed. There’s just one problem, the claim is simply not true! The information being presented at the town hall meetings is misleading at best, and absolutely false, at worst. Utah tax collections are at all-time highs! We are collecting more tax in Utah that ever before, with all indications that this will continue. In fact, Utah had a $1.1 Billion surplus just last year! Utah is expecting hundreds of millions of dollars of new sales tax receipts from large online retailers such as Amazon.com. It’s not Utah’s tax system that is broken, it is Utah’s political system. Please contact your representatives and demand that they STOP the misinformation! Learn more in this OpEd published in the Salt Lake Tribune.
Utah Legislative Watch was organized in response to efforts by Utah lawmakers to secretly pass HB441, a massive expansion of Utah tax policy that would have devastated Utah’s economy. Luckily, a handful of Utah citizens raised the alarm and HB441 was scrapped, at least for the moment. Learn more by watching this short video.