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Council Postpones Tax Increase Vote Amid Pushback From Business Community

File Photo / KUER

The Salt Lake City Council will not vote on a tax increase on tax day after all. They’re going to hold off on Tuesday night’s vote for another couple of weeks.

The council is still expected to approve the half-cent tax hike to pay for more affordable housing, public transit improvements, road repairs and police. But Council Chair Erin Mendenhall said they’ll pause to solidify specifically where those dollars will go.

“So that future councils and the administration and future administrations will be as bound as possible to committing those revenue dollars toward these four areas that we’re prioritizing,” Mendenhall said.

There’s precedent for this. The last time the city raised taxes, an $8 million property tax hike in 2013, it was supposed to be for infrastructure improvements. Instead, it went to employee raises.  

The  council also wants to address some concerns from the business community.

“I wouldn’t categorize our position as being in opposition,” said Jason Mathis with Downtown Alliance. “I think we’ve just said there’s really a lot of questions here that we think need to be answered before the city enacts a $33 million tax increase.”

He says one of those questions is whether the city has exhausted all other ways to fund these projects. Mendenhall hopes to answer that and other questions at a meeting between the two parties next week.

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