clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Utah Legislature: GOP senators neither favor nor oppose tax hikes

SALT LAKE CITY — Senate Republicans aren't supporting tax increases this session. But they're not opposing them, either, at least not yet.

The GOP majority met behind closed doors Friday on several proposed tax increases including a hike in the tobacco tax.

"There was not unanimous support for any of them nor was there unanimous opposition," Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, said Monday.

Waddoups said he expects the sponsor of the tobacco tax increase, Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, to go forward with his bill anyway.

Senate Majority Whip Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said Christensen's SB40 would have a better chance of getting out of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee if the increase was lowered from $2 to 95 cents a pack.

Niederhauser, a member of the committee, said increasing the tax to 95 cents a pack would raise the tax to the average already charged by surrounding states.

The caucus also failed to reached agreement about the two proposals in Gov. Gary Herbert's budget, dealing with the vendor discount on sales taxes and quarterly withholding payments for income taxes.

"It does help a little bit, but they're not budget savers," Niederhauser said of the three taxes discussed by the caucus. "To save the budget would be an enormous revenue increase. There's not way to do that. These are just small drops in the bucket."