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Utah lawmaker proposes to raise food tax

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A Utah lawmaker says it's time to shell out more cash for groceries.

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A Utah lawmaker says it's time to shell out more cash for groceries. 


Sen. John Valentine is proposing to double the state's food tax from 1.75 percent to 4.75 percent. The senator says the tax was cut five years ago and since then the state is hurting in the sales tax department.


The idea of paying more for food has people like Alisa Haws, mom of two growing boys with growing appetites question their budgets. “It would make me look for more bargains.”


Crystal Couch said it would make her re0think where she buys groceries.  “That would definitely change our priorities of where we would shop at,” she said. “Luckily my husband is military so we can go to the base so that would definitely make us drive a little bit farther to make us not pay taxes.”  


Under the proposal there is relief for low-income families. An individual or family making less than $35,000 a year would get an $80 tax credit to offset the cost of sales tax on groceries. A family making $60,000 or less would get $40 per person. Families who qualify for the federal Earned Income Credit would get a state refundable credit of five percent.


But even with safeguards for the needy, not everyone is sold.


“At least those people that are really desperate won’t be hurting, but for the rest of us if you make just so much and you have just enough assets and you don't get help from the government that could hurt a lot of people,” said Douglas MacDonald, a shopper.


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