POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Bill introduced to remove state-imposed food sales tax

Feb 14, 2023, 2:00 PM

a sign opposing utah food tax is pictured...

“More Bread for Utahns!” members rally to repeal Utah’s grocery sales tax at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill has been introduced to do away with sales tax on food, but the road forward for the bill might be winding.

What exactly would the bill do?

The bill, H.B. 101, would remove the taxes on food that are imposed by the state. That said, city and county taxes would remain as they are. 

Rep. Judy Weeks-Rohner, R-West Valley, joined KSL at Night to discuss the bill, which she is sponsoring.

Rohner said the state-imposed taxes make up just 1.75%, which she called a “small amount” compared to the total state budget.

The bill would not touch the city and county-imposed food taxes.

“We have no intention of touching that at all. We understand how important those dollars are to maintaining the city’s infrastructure,” Rohner said.

But the bill is important to pass, Rohner said, especially to aid those in need.

Food banks are overwhelmed, inflation continues to be an issue and people are having to go to extra lengths to make ends meet for food costs, Rohner said.

“It needs to be done. It needs to be done this year.”

Removing food sales tax might not be straightforward

A similar bill, H.B. 172 from Rep. Rosemary Lesser, D-Ogden, has also been introduced.

A key difference in Lesser’s bill though is that candy would still have state-imposed food sales tax on it.

But Rohner doesn’t have an issue with the similar natures of the two bills.

“We don’t care whose bill gets, you know, the name on it. That’s not that’s not important. What we need to do is make sure that we have the removal of the food tax,” Rohner said.

As another bump in the road for the bill, as reported by Deseret News, there’s talk from Republican leaders about removing food tax on the condition that the earmark on income tax for education is removed.

The state constitution currently requires that a large amount of Utah income tax go toward public education.

Rohner said she hasn’t been a part of any discussions about pairing the two changes, but said that if done right, it could be a success.

“If we do do this and we do it properly, the removal of the food tax could be handled. They would be able to still fund education the way it should be,” Rohner said, adding “We would be able to help, especially the working class citizens in the state.”

Listen to the full KSL at Night Segment:

 

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Bill introduced to remove state-imposed food sales tax