Gov. Gary Herbert will likely support President Donald Trump’s re-election bid in 2020.
“I don’t know of any reason why I would not endorse (Trump),” Herbert said Thursday during his monthly KUED news conference, where he covered a range of topics, including tax reform. “I’m working very closely with the administration.”
The GOP governor said neither Trump nor Vice President Mike Pence have asked for his endorsement, but that he appreciates the administration’s policies and “respect” for state’s rights.
“I am a Republican and I like a lot of the things” the Trump administration is doing, he said. “I think we should focus in the things being done as opposed to what’s being said.”
Herbert also lamented divisions in American politics, but would not say that Trump is solely responsible for stoking partisan divides.
“I think all people have a responsibility for that division. … Everybody needs to kind of dial it back a notch or two,” he said, adding that in Utah, lawmakers are “very good at coming together and finding compromise and rational solutions that reflect the will of the people.”
The governor said he met with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence during a recent visit to Washington D.C. and has previously met with congressional Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.
“I’m ready, willing and able to work with anyone in Washington D.C. on any issue,” he said.
“We’re all on the same team. We forget that sometimes in the hyper-partisanship of Washington D.C., but we’re all trying to find policy that helps us arrive at the goals we all have,” including issues like a healthy economy, access to health care and infrastructure development, he said.
Herbert also spoke about legislative efforts to restructure the state tax code as Utah’s general fund, financed by sales tax revenue, struggles to keep up with the state’s growing population.
In February, Republican lawmakers unveiled a massive bill that would have imposed a sales tax on services ranging from lawn care to attorney fees while cutting the overall sales tax rate. After public pushback from taxpayers and business owners, legislative leaders pulled the bill.
Herbert said he still wants a proposal that will cut taxes for Utahns.
He has previously called for a special legislative session in late summer to pass a tax reform package, but on Thursday signaled that he wouldn’t mind punting it to the 2020 general session if needed.
“I believe that it’s important that we get it right rather than get it quick. I think we still have time to have a special session, but we would not want to have a special session unless we have consensus,” he said.
A 14-member task force to study and come up with possible solutions announced Thursday afternoon it will hold its first meeting on May 30.