Tax Games

The legislature of the great state of Utah has just passed a $200 million income tax cut bill which reduces the state’s income tax rate from 4.85% to 4.65%. Two hundred million may sound significant, but the decrease in income taxes for a family making $80,000 a year will amount to $208, or roughly 57 cents a day. For families making less than that, the tax cut is estimated to cut taxes by as much as 22%, but for a family with a taxable income of $30,000, a 22% reduction is less than $200.

This is the second – or possibly third – year of “small” tax cuts, and those small percentages add up to significant dollars for the top five percent of Utah taxpayers but aren’t all that helpful for lower income taxpayers.

I’d rather see no tax cuts and the money used for public education funding, given that Utah teachers – all the way from kindergarten to the university level – aren’t that well paid and face, on average, some of the largest class sizes.

And just possibly, the state legislators might consider more funding for improving air quality along the Salt Lake City/Wasatch Front, since the pollution levels there are among the worst in the nation. That doesn’t take into account that wasteful water use is resulting in Salt Lake drying up, which also results in toxic dust from the exposed lakebed being blown into the air.

Both the air and water problems, as well as shortfalls in infrastructure, have been compounded by the fact that Utah has been the fastest-growing state in the U.S. from 2010 to 2023, with a total growth of 23.88%.

But, obviously, touting minuscule tax cuts that really only benefit the wealthiest taxpayers is really good politics. Whether it’s best in the long-term for the state and its people is another question.

2 thoughts on “Tax Games”

  1. Bill says:

    Isn’t making the rich richer the goal of government? Georgia keeps doing the same thing and is neglecting the schools and the roads among other issues. It is funny how people don’t associate a minor tax cut with a lack of improvements elsewhere. I am worried that the only way to argue against the bribe is to say that it is defunding the police.

  2. KevinJ says:

    The difference between a politician and a states(wo)man is whether they look at what’s best for themselves (“good politics”) or best for the state, especially in the longer term.

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