A bill that would require some out of state internet retailers to collect sales tax from Utah customers narrowly passed the UTAH Senate this morning. But if SB 226 becomes law it could be challenged by the Justice Department.
Federal law prohibits Utah from collecting sales tax from online businesses unless they have an office or storefront in the state. SB 226 would expand the rule to include remote retailers who use local advertisements or forge other local agreements.
A state Senate committee voted Wednesday to push back the start date for Utah’s guest worker program by two years to give Congress a chance to work on comprehensive immigration reform.
Utah’s guest worker program was set to go into effect this July, but Republican Senator Curt Bramble of Provo introduced Senate Bill 225 to postpone the implementation until 2015. Bramble told the Senate Business and Labor committee that Utah’s guest worker law was designed to pressure the federal government into reforming immigration policy.
A couple of alcohol related bills managed to make their way through House committees Wednesday including one that would eliminate Utah’s so-called “Zion Curtain.”
HB228 eliminates provisions in Utah law that requires restaurants to keep open liquor bottles and the actual mixing of drinks out of public sight. Republican Rep. Gage Froerer voted in favor of the bill. He says the current law is an unnecessary obstacle.
Utah lawmakers are hoping to bring in millions of additional tax dollars from online retailers, but a bill being proposed might be in conflict with the U-S Constitution. Federal law currently allows the state to collect taxes from online retailers as long as they have a physical location in that state, like a store or distribution warehouse. Senate Bill 226, sponsored by Republican Senator Wayne Harper would empower Utah to collect taxes from some out-of-state online retailers.
The Utah House of Representatives voted Monday to allow restaurant patrons to order drinks before ordering food. House Bill 218 would also make more liquor permits available for certain types of dining establishments.
Under current statute, restaurant customers are required to order food if they want to order an alcoholic drink. If they don’t, the restaurant may be fined 500 dollars, which happened to several Utah establishments recently. Republican Gage Froerer of Huntsville says his bill will clarify the state’s policy and prevent future fines.
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced new tax incentives for three companies on Thursday. One is doTerra, a company that makes essential oils – plant extracts that it sells through a network of independent distributors. It’s promised to bring 330 new jobs to its company headquarters in Pleasant Grove in product testing and development, customer support and other positions. For that, it will get 16-point-6 million dollars in tax credits over ten years.
After losing out on a contract with Salt Lake City to provide taxi cab service to and from the Salt Lake City International Airport, Yellow Cab taxi service is calling for the city to increase the company’s cab rates. But the Department of Airports, which is responsible for recommending rate changes to the Salt Lake City Council, says the request will not be granted.
Entrepreneur Jim Sorenson has given the University of Utah $13 million to create a one-of-a-kind global impact investing center. The Center will be part of the U’s David Eccles School of Business and will provide students with training and experience in social entrepreneurship.
For Jim Sorenson, impact investing means doing good while doing well.
This week a group of Utah physicians demanded a moratorium on mass transit fares for the remainder of the winter season, joining thousands of Utah residents who continually point to Utah Transit Authority as the key to the regions poor air quality. But UTA says the only way to realize increased ridership is to expand service, which can’t be done in the face of lost revenue.
Robert Redford's annual Sundance Film Festival draws thousands of filmgoers and millions of dollars to snowy Park City, Utah. But a state subsidy contributing to the event is drawing controversy from some conservatives, who say films screened at the festival don't reflect the values of the state.
Credit Mark Davis / Getty Images
Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford speaks with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and former Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, at an event at the festival in Park City, Utah.
A disagreement between supporters of the Sundance Film Festival and a conservative think tank in Utah is raising questions about whether tax dollars should support the arts. The Sutherland Institute says some films screened at Sundance do not reflect Utah values.
In connection with the start of service on the new Airport TRAX line in April UTA is proposing several route changes including eliminating routes in Salt Lake, Tooele, and Davis County. UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter says he thinks for the most part these changes will be well received.
While Congress works to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, there is another deadline looming. Emergency unemployment insurance benefits are set to expire Saturday unless Congress acts. The US Department of Labor estimates this will impact over 2 million Americans, including about 4100 Utahns.