(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)
But there are legislators who feel that the food sales tax break was too much of a benefit to the wealthy and therefore should be reinstated. The state’s Tax Review Commission announced its support for the restoration of the food sales tax rate an, in an article published in the Salt Lake Tribune, the chair of the commission stated:
Like the other groups endorsing the idea of restoring the full food sales tax, the commission said it sought to create a more stable, sound tax base and was not motivated by the desire to increase revenues to help plug an estimated $850 million budget deficit.
“In my mind, the real issue — in spite of the emotional effects — is efficiency,” said Commission Chairman Keith Prescott. “There’s an efficiency issue that doesn’t reach its target audience. By taking the sales tax off food, it gives too much benefit to the wealthy — an unintended, not well-thought-out result of what we got.”
While consumers have enjoyed the reduced sales tax on food, implemented in January of last year, state coffers have missed out on an estimated $160 million in revenues.The commission preferred revenue refunds that would be cost-effective and easy to implement. Several options were discussed, such as tying the benefit to the federal earned income tax credit, adding a few lines on the state’s tax return or increasing the pool of food stamps.