After compiling a list of taxpayer-funded projects, an American policy group asks Utah lawmakers to reconsider whether certain items should be publicly funded.
Failing to address the tax code earlier this year, tax reform has become one of the main priorities for state lawmakers during the Legislature’s downtime.
“The whole state of Utah is expected to have a doubling of the population over the next 30-40 years and I ask everybody here today -- What does that look like?” said Republican Senate President Wayne Niederhauser speaking at June’s revenue and tax meeting. “We want it to look a lot like what we have today: quality of life and an environment where people can have good jobs and prosper. I’m here to say that I think that our tax structure is not what it needs to be meet those demands going forward.”
The next tax meeting will be held in August.
While the state Legislature will continue to discuss a host of reforms including simplifying the state tax code and revaluating tax breaks, a policy group known as Americans for Prosperity claims its identified $43 million in what they deem “wasteful spending” in Utah.
“We wanted to go back and just start the conversation about whether or not some of these projects are really in the purview of government and really should be money that is spent out of our tax coffers or are these things private business could do a better job at funding,” said Evelyn Everton, director of AFP’s Utah chapter.
AFP Utah claims that there are several “pet projects and frivolous handouts” lawmakers spend on which come at the expense of core services.
“One of those was $250,000 just to tell Utahns that they shouldn’t eat too much. And we certainly think there are others groups that are already doing that or that Utahns are already aware that eating too much results in bad health,” said Everton.
I asked Everton if she has been able to meet with any state Legislatures about AFP’s report in person, she said they had not.