Gov. Herbert: It’s time for candidates to “step up” on tax reform

Jan 23, 2020, 2:55 PM | Updated: Jun 16, 2022, 4:19 pm

FILE — Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert talks with media after taking a ride Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, in an F-35 cockpit demonstrator, at the University of Utah. He's suggesting candidates to replace him should speak up now about tax reform (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

(Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Just after announcing he and legislative leaders will fully repeal a tax reform package approved in special session, Gov. Gary Herbert called on the next governor – and those who hope to obtain the job – to take action.

In his monthly news conference on PBS Utah, Herbert called the tax reform repeal an “opportunity for those running for governor who, in fact, have been critical of this process.”

Time to step up

“It’s time for them to step up,” he told reporters, and argued candidates should “let the public know” what their ideas were to address tax reform.

Several candidates for governor from both Republican and Democratic parties endorsed the referendum to get tax reform on the 2020 Ballot.

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, notably, would not endorse the referendum due to his role overseeing elections for the state, though he opposed raising the sales tax on food.

Where the candidates stand on tax reform

Four Republican candidates for governor appeared on KSL NewsRadio’s “Dave & Dujanovic” Thursday to discuss the issue of tax reform: Jeff Burningham, Salt Lake County Councilwoman Aimee Winder-Newton, former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.

Asked what he would do to address tax reform as governor, Burningham told Dave & Dujanovic he thinks Utah does not have a revenue problem, but that state government has a “spending problem.” As governor, he said he would call for a “top to bottom audit of the government.”

“The sales tax doesn’t fit who we are as Utahns,” he added.

Winder-Newton said she would look at the gas tax and transportation funding.

“Do you want transportation to be user-based or do you want it to be lumped into the budget?” she asked, arguing for a robust discussion on the issue.

Huntsman, who signed a bill to reduce the sales tax on food in 2006, said he would work with lawmakers to “improve our tax policy that broadens the base, lowers the rate” if elected.

Cox argued that lawmakers need to include leaders in education on tax reform discussions.

“We have to have the education community at the table having these discussions on board with us. What was missing with this piece was the education community,” he said. “That can’t happen.”


Former speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, Greg Hughes, spoke on Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry to discuss tax reform in the wake of Gov. Herbert’s tax reform repeal.

“I think what you saw was that the people and the public were not brought along on this tax proposal,” he told Lonsberry. And he said he believes that Governor Herbert missed an opportunity to use his unique bully pulpit, as governor, to bring the people of Utah into the discussion.

“If I’m governor, that’s what you would have.”

Thomas Wright is also a gubernatorial candidate in Utah, and when Lee Lonsberry asked him to discuss tax reform in the wake of the repeal this week he said the biggest problem was timing.

“If I had been governor, I would have said to the legislature, ‘let’s bring a bill forward before we call the special session,” Wright said. “If the final bill had been presented to the public before the special session was called, a lot of these concerns would have been heard.”

Republican Jason Christensen, who is also a gubernatorial candidate in Utah, did not comment specifically on the recent repeal. But in a YouTube video, Christensen says he’d get rid of income and property tax and institute a state lottery to fund education.

Election Day is Nov. 3, 2020.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

Listen on Google Play Music

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Politics + Government

The U.S. Capitol is seen on Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Washington. President Joe Biden’s administ...

Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN

Debt ceiling deal exposes Biden and McCarthy’s weaknesses with their parties’ extremes

The bill faces a gauntlet of votes starting Tuesday, when it goes before the powerful House Rules Committee.

9 hours ago

two people sit by their son's grave on memorial day...

Associated Press

Biden on Memorial Day lauds generations of fallen US troops who ‘dared all and gave all’

Biden connected the sacrifices of some 400,000 Americans buried at Arlington to the work of U.S. troops deployed around the world today.

1 day ago

utah state capitol building pictured, unclaimed money in utah has been given back to veterans...

Dan Bammes

Over $700,000 in unclaimed money returned to veterans

Utah State Treasurer Marlo Oaks said his office has been matching veterans in Utah with unclaimed money.

1 day ago

Biden and McCarthy's political futures could hinge on their ability to pass the legislation while a...

Kevin Liptak, CNN

Biden and McCarthy lean on holdouts to pass debt ceiling deal

Speaking from the White House on Sunday, Biden hailed the agreement as critical to preventing economic disaster.

1 day ago

A new Washington Post-Ipsos poll shows that 75% of workers would prefer a 10-hour, four-day workwee...

Allessandra Harris

Four-day workweeks are growing in Utah once again, but this time they’re hybrid

A new Washington Post-Ipsos poll shows that 75% of workers would prefer a 10-hour, four-day workweek rather than the common 8-hour, five-day workweek.

4 days ago

State judge temporarily blocks South Carolina’s 6-week abortion ban...

Dianne Gallagher, CNN

State judge temporarily blocks South Carolina’s 6-week abortion ban

A South Carolina judge has temporarily blocked the state’s new abortion restrictions from going into effect, just one day after Gov. Henry McMaster signed them into law.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

Gov. Herbert: It’s time for candidates to “step up” on tax reform