A bill cutting Utah’s income tax collections by nearly $170 million is advancing again in the final days of the 2024 Legislature.

First passed by the Senate in January, SB69, sponsored by Sen. Chris Wilson, R-Logan, was backed along party lines by the House Revenue and Taxation Committee Friday after a brief hearing

With the session set to end March 1, the bill now goes to the full House.

The bill lowers the individual and corporate income tax rate from 4.65% to 4.55%. What would be a fourth year of tax cuts is a top priority of both House and Senate Republicans, who hold a supermajority in the Legislature.

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But with new revenue estimates giving lawmakers another $340 million to spend, the House GOP caucus has yet to sign off on the size of the cut. With more income tax collections anticipated, the bill’s price tag rose from $160 million to nearly $170 million.

Wilson told the House committee the rate cut, agreed to by Republican senators early in the session, is an opportunity to provide another round of “responsible” tax cuts “without financially putting our state at risk.”

“We will cut taxes in a measurable, controlled and cautious manner,” the senator said, adding he believes that “we have proved that. We have measured twice and we’ve cut once.”

The House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Kay Christofferson, R-Lehi, said Utah’s economy will grow as a result of another round of income tax cuts. Lawmakers have been incrementally reducing the rate from 4.95% since 2022, along with making other tax cuts since 2021.

“I don’t like incentives, when it picks one group or another group. What I like about this is it incentivizes everyone. People can take that money and use it, invest it, in the way they want,” Christofferson said.

That builds the economy, he said. “I think we’ll see a big turn up. I think you won’t notice that loss from the government because it will be steamrolling our economy to where we’ll make that up in other areas.”

Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate have opposed a tax cut this session, saying in a budget year being described as tight even by the GOP, the money should be used instead for more pressing state needs.

Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, one of the two Democrats on the committee who voted against moving the bill to the full House, said while the tax cut “will be significant for some people,” it may not amount to much for lower-income taxpayers.

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The other Democrat on the committee, Rep. Doug Owns, D-Millcreek, said he appreciates “the sentiment of the bill to reduce tax burdens on our people” but would rather see a reduction in the sales tax rate.

“This is funding that’s earmarked for education,” Owens said of state income taxes, which the Utah Constitution permits to be used only for schools and some social services. “I just feel like that extra funding would really make a difference in our education system.”

The Utah Taxpayers Association’s Rusty Cannon offered the only public testimony about the bill.

Cannon cited the “measured approach of this cut” and pointed out that going from a 4.95% income tax rate to 4.55% over three years “is significant. We’re talking now probably cresting $700 million a year, every year, with the cumulative cuts that have been done.”

At the same time, Cannon said, state lawmakers have “responsibly increased, massively increased, spending in critical areas. We can walk and chew gum at the same time and it has been successful.”

It’s been hard for the pro-business association, he said, “to be patient while small cuts take place but they are adding up to significant cuts.”