After almost a year of discussion, Utah lawmakers passed a tax reform bill Thursday evening largely along party lines.
Proponents of the bill said it will provide Utahns with approximately $255 million in tax cuts-- potentially the largest in the state’s history. However, opponents are concerned about the bill’s impacts on public education and lower-income individuals.
Cache County Senator Lyle Hillyard is excited about the progress he believes is being made in overhauling the state’s tax structure.
"I feel really good about it in the fact that I had people who are listening, come back and said, they thought for the first time they really understood,” Hillyard said.
Hillyard and other lawmakers in favor of the bill celebrated multiple elements of the it, including the creation of the income tax credit on Social Security, the significant increase in the amount of exemption per dependent and removing taxes on menstrual products.
Opponents acknowledged the step forward regarding menstrual products, but are concerned diapers and adult incontinence products were denied the same tax cut. Other concerns of opponents include the potential decrease in funding for public education and an increase in taxes on groceries.
Hillyard acknowledged these concerns and said the upcoming general session is the time to continue the discussion. During the session, he also wants to further examine sales tax exemptions.
“We want to be able to go back to these exemptions that and make sure they justify them that they really make sense,” Hillyard said.