“Tax Cut” will nickel and dime Utahns to debt

Utah’s tax reform bill adds first time taxes to nearly every service imaginable

Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan. 9, 2020—Utah lawmakers say the new tax reform bill will cut taxes but the fine print shows it will implement taxes from the cradle to the grave. S.B. 2001 introduces dozens of new taxes that begin with the newspaper you read in the morning, the textbook you take to school, the Netflix movie you watch at night—even the hearse that takes you to your funeral.

A nonpartisan group is working to collect enough signatures by January 21 so voters can decide in November whether the new taxes are needed or fair. Here’s a list of all the services that will be taxed for the first time:

  • Streaming media (Netflix, Spotify, etc.) and software subscriptions (SaaS companies like Qualtrics, Pluralsight, etc.)
  • Ambulance, funeral, peer-to-peer ride sharing, intrastate and sightseeing transportation
  • Pet boarding, grooming and daycare (it’s a dog’s life)
  • Towing, parking lots and garages
  • Dating referral services (swipe left if you dislike this tax)
  • Shipping and handling
  • Identity theft protection and electronic security monitoring

The following will no longer be exempted from a 4.85% sales tax:

  • Newspapers and newspaper subscriptions (free press?)
  • Student textbooks
  • Car washes, laundromat washers and dryers
  • Vending machine food and amusement devices
  • College athletic event tickets (Taxes beat Fans)
  • Sporting event vehicles and ski lift electricity
  • Sales to a public transit district and locomotive fuel

“These service taxes hurt individuals and will harm many of high-tech and SaaS businesses that moved to Utah,” says Fred C. Cox, referendum organizer and former state legislator. “The breadth and scope of the new taxes reminds me of the song ‘Taxman’ by the Beatles.”

The lyrics to “Taxman” including the following lines:

“If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street.
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat.
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman.”

The legislature requires referendum backers to gather 115,869 signatures, divided proportionally among at least 15 of Utah’s 29 counties, by January 21. More than 13,400 signatures have been tuned in or ready to be submitted as of January 8.

Emery and Kane counties became the first to collect enough signatures to meet the legislative requirement. San Juan and Box Elder are more than halfway to the goal. The other counties with high gains include Davis, Grand, Millard, Salt Lake, Utah, Wasatch, Washington and Weber. Registered voters can go to www.utah2019tax.com to get the latest times, dates and locations of petition signing events.

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