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News Brief: Taxes, Wrecks & Lots Of Weather

Photo of the Wasatch mountains covered in snow.
Brian Albers
Winter storms continue to wallop much of Utah, and backcountry avalanche conditions are getting more volatile. These stories and more in the morning news roundup.

Tuesday morning, November 26, 2019


Tax Reform 

Dozens of teachers, lobbyists and other Utahns on Monday night asked the Legislature’s tax reform task force to hit ‘pause’ and wait until the general session in January to pass a rewrite of the state tax code. Lawmakers want to add or raise taxes on food, gasoline and services. At the same time, they want to lower the income tax rate and raise the independent exemption to $2,500 per child. They’re also looking at changing the way education is paid for, and teachers turned out to Monday’s meeting at the state capitol to ask that schools stay fully funded. The group will reconvene on Dec. 9 with a new version of a plan. Some lawmakers are calling for a special session to implement an income tax cut by January 1. — Nicole Nixon

Be Careful Out There

The Utah Highway Patrol tallied 270 crashes as of last night, and they say another 2 to 3 dozen were pending at 9pm Monday. UHP Colonel Michael Rapich tweeted that black ice and extremely slick conditions were prevalent on roads along the Wasatch Front. According to a tweet from UHP, two troopers appear to be doing “okay” after being hit while investigating separate crashes, with one hit twice in the same spot. — Diane Maggipinto

Storm Warnings Continue 

Unsettled weather around Utah and the west means a side of snow with your turkey dinner. A winter weather advisory continues through Tuesday. A more serious storm watch goes into effect tonight through Saturday morning for the Wasatch Mountains and Plateau, the Book Cliffs, Western Uinta and Central and Southern Mountains. The National Weather Service says gusty winds will accompany projected snowfall of one-to-three feet. Forecasters warn of very difficult travel, perhaps impossible in places, during the holiday period. Wind chills may drop as low as 20 below zero with frostbite potential on exposed skin. They also remind motorists to keep a survival kit in the car. — Diane Maggipinto

Avalanche Watch 

A backcountry avalanche watch has been issued by the Utah Avalanche Center, in effect now through Wednesday at dawn. The affected area includes the Central and Southern Wasatch Range and the western Uintas. Forecasters say human-triggered and natural slides are likely. The watch does not apply to ski areas and roads where snow control occurs. — Diane Maggipinto

Central Utah

Expanded Ski Bus Service

The Utah Transit Authority and the Central Wasatch Commission are continuing their effort to reduce winter congestion in Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons. On Monday, they announced they’ll be offering 26% more trips to Snowbird and Alta, faster service to Solitude and Brighton, and more seat space for riders. But according to Mike Manville, associate professor of urban planning at UCLA, while improved public transportation is a positive step forward, it’s not necessarily going to solve the problem. Read the full storyJon Reed


Drought Forecast

The Mountain West is off to one of the driest starts to the water year in history. The year begins Oct. 1, and according to some forecasts, much of our region has about a 30% chance of seeing normal precipitation levels by the water year’s end. But forecasters expect an increase in precipitation in early December, and believe that drought impacts will be minimal overall and will primarily affect the Southern part of the Mountain West. — Noah Glick, Mountain West News Bureau

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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