State lawmakers talk tax reform at annual conference

Salt Lake City, Utah- (News4Utah) – Utahns may be paying more in state taxes due to federal tax reform, unless state lawmakers act.

That's one proposal they'll be considering when the session gets underway in a few weeks.

Monday, bills addressing state taxes were in the spotlight at the Grand America Hotel. It's part of the Utah Taxpayers Association's legislative outlook conference.

"We're looking at what will happen with taxes in the upcoming legislative session, so the taxpayers are informed on, you know, will taxes be going up, will they be going down," said Billy Hesterman, Utah Taxpayers Association VP.

One of the big issues lawmakers will take up is the impact of the federal tax reform bill.

"A lot of people don't know, but as a result of that many peoples state income taxes are going to be going up, because of the change in the formula," said Representative Steve Eliason, (R) Sandy.

Currently, the state stands to gain about $75 million in new revenue from that.

Eliason, who chairs the Revenue and Taxation Committee believes a solution will be found to allow Utahns to keep that money.

"I think there is little desire for a large tax increase, or even a small increase."

Lawmakers will also consider future transportation needs, property tax equalization to fund education and tax modernization.

"We want to be able to keep good manufacturing jobs and other high paying jobs in Utah. We don't want them to move elsewhere, because our tax policy, kind of got behind the curve," said Eliason.

The Utah Taxpayers Association is calling on them to do that without putting the burden on taxpayers.

"We think the state has enough money, the government has enough money. There are opportunities here to look at how can help Utah, and help the economy and help our state be in a position to continue to succeed for the next 10 years," said Hesterman.

Opening day of the legislature is Monday, January 22, 2018.

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