Utahns across the board like GOP Gov. Gary Herbert’s idea of broaden the sales tax base, and cutting the rate, a new UtahPolicy.com poll finds.
The Dan Jones & Associates survey shows:
61 percent of all Utahns “strongly” or “somewhat” support Herbert’s sales tax plans.
Only 24 percent oppose reforming the sales tax as the governor wants.
While 15 percent don’t know.
And in a rare instance of unity, support for the governor’s sales tax plan runs across partisan political and philosophical strata.
Look at these breakdowns:
Republicans, 64-21 percent, support the governor’s sales tax reforms – broaden the base to include a number of now-untaxed services, and lower the 4.75 percent rate.
Democrats support the Republican governor on sales tax reform, 63-24 percent.
Political independents are with him, 60-25 percent.
Those who said they are “very conservative” politically like Herbert’s plan, 61-27 percent.
The “somewhat conservative” Utahns are with him, 61-25 percent.
“Moderates” favor his idea, 62-22 percent.
The “somewhat liberal” Utahns like it, 64-22 percent.
While those who label themselves as “very liberal” stand with the governor’s sales tax program, 63-21 percent.
Utah’s sales tax is under-performing and has been so for several years.
As more and more of the Utah economy is service-based – like haircuts and limo rides – and those services are not taxed, the sales tax is not keeping up with growth in property taxes and income taxes.
But broadening the base will not be easy to do politically, as powerful lobbying groups gather to oppose taxing of their service sales.
Former GOP Gov. Mike Leavitt, in the mid-1990s, fought like heck to put some then-untaxed services into the sales tax umbrella, only to see, bit by bit, those industries coming back later and getting their sales tax exemptions put back on by the Legislature.
Poll by conducted by Dan Jones & Associates from January 3 – 15, 2019. 822 Registered voters were interviewed. Data collection was conducted by live call center agents (42 percent landline telephone, 32 percent cellphone), and a portion of the survey was conducted via email invite from an online panel (26 percent). The margin of error for the statewide questions is +/- 3.4 percent.