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Water Tax Bill Gets Stuck in Committee

Brian Grimmett

The Senate Revenue and Taxation committee chose not to move on a bill that would have allowed the state to tax water usage.

Republican Senator Scott Jenkins’ SB 154 would have allowed the state to put a tax on water usage. The new tax would have generated around $24 million dollars a year for the Water Resources and Development fund. The money in that fund is used to help local water districts finance water development projects. Republican Senator Howard Stephenson of Draper spoke against the bill. He questioned the need for the state to even be involved at all in making loans.

“Why does government have a revolving loan fund when capitol is available on the open markets and I don’t know why taxpayers should take money out of their savings to put it in government savings,” he says.

Because of the committee’s inaction the bill will stay put giving them the opportunity to come up with a more agreeable solution. But Jenkins says this was his best shot.

“All I know is that in the 10 years that I’ve been involved with it since I’ve been here there have been no new ideas that will fix it," he says. "So why do I think that in the next 35 to 40 days that an idea is going to come by to fix it.”

Jenkins adds that the fund will work without this bill, it just won’t be large enough to do any good. It’s estimated that over the next 20 years there are $16 billion dollars’ worth of water projects that will need to be funded.

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