In a show of holiday bipartisanship, Santa Claus and the Grinch came together Friday with a message to Utah lawmakers: Don’t hold a special session on tax reform.
The two holiday icons joined a handful of groups united against the Legislature’s effort to pass a sweeping tax bill before the end of the year. They delivered a petition to Gov. Gary Herbert’s office, asking him to slow down the tax reform process.
“The current bill has not been sufficiently vetted or debated,” said Brett Hastings with Utah Legislative Watch. “A one-day session is simply not sufficient to responsibly consider a bill of this magnitude.”
Republican lawmakers have been pushing for a special session before the end of the year to pass a bill that would cut the income tax by around 0.3% while imposing sales taxes on new things like gasoline, Netflix and parking fees. They also want to raise the grocery tax to the full 4.85% sales tax rate and create new tax credits aimed at low- and middle-income Utahns.
The bill would also more than quadruple the dependent exemption.
The food tax has been a sticking point for some Democratic lawmakers and advocates for low-income Utahns.
“We should not be saddling tax reform upon Utahns who are already struggling under financial burdens,” said Chase Thomas, executive director of the left-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah.
“The only thing that we as citizens can do is complain about something that’s been drafted behind closed doors and revealed just in time for a quick vote,” said Krista Palmer with the Utah Tax Reform Coalition. “We can do better. We need to slow this process down.”
The latest version of the bill hasn’t been made public, but legislative leaders are pushing Gov. Herbert to call a special session next Thursday.