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Republican-supported income tax cut clears its first legislative hurdle

Dan McCay
Ivana Martinez
Utah Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, is sponsoring a bill to drop the income tax rate.

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, has declared 2022 the “year of the tax cut.

Lawmakers debated Senate Bill 59 Wednesday, which would cut Utah’s flat income tax rate from 4.95% to 4.85%.

That translates to around $190 million the first year and $160 million annually.

Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, is the bill’s sponsor. He said that could look like about $100 in savings for a family of four making $72,000 a year.

“It's not a big number, but it does make a difference to those who earn that income,” McCay said. “That's one more expense, a few more meals. For that reason, we're hopeful that this is a great return to them.”

For a handful of people who spoke during public comment, though, the proposed cut isn’t enough.

Heidi Balderree, a Saratoga Springs resident, said she’d like to see the rate fall to 4.5%.

“We talked about that small number and that small cut that the bill proposed,” Balderree said. “I say it's stingy. We have the money.”

On the other hand, some said there were better ways to help Utahns — like Lisa Stamps, who said she’s the parent of a disabled child.

“I'm disappointed to hear people testifying about how the state can afford a tax cut,” Stamps said. “We have thousands of people who are waiting for social services. It's repugnant to hear about cutting taxes when they are so desperately needed to care for our people.”

While McCay is the measure’s primary sponsor, Republican leaders in the Senate have signed on as co-sponsors.

That puts the bill in a strong position as it moves through the Legislature.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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