Salt Lake City files amended complaint in lawsuit against Utah Inland Port Authority

Salt Lake City Hall

Monday, at Mayor Jackie Biskupski’s direction, the Salt Lake City Attorney’s Office filed an amended complaint in the City’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Utah Inland Port Authority. The amended complaint addresses changes made in HB433 which passed during the 2019 legislative session, as well as asks the court for a preliminary injunction.

Along with reiterating the City’s objections on the Authority’s unconstitutional usurping of land use and taxing, the amended complaint adds the following objections to the revisions of the Utah Inland Port Authority Act as reflected in HB433:

    1. Creates one project area for the Authority jurisdictional land.
    2. Mandates that the Authority take 100% of the City property tax increment.
    3. Mandates that the Authority take a portion of the City’s sales and use tax revenue.
    4. Kept in language that allows the Authority to substitute its judgment for the City’s on land use appeals in the jurisdictional land.

Along with mandating the Authority seize 100% of the property tax increment as well as a portion of the City’s sales tax, HB433 also increases the period of time the Authority can take property tax increment from 25 years to 40 years.

“HB433 is proof that the State has no intention of negotiating in good faith or addressing any of the serious concerns raised by my Administration, namely land use and taxing authority,” said Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “The bill made a bad deal for Salt Lake City even worse, and I hope has shown that City representatives need to finally stand united to fight this unprecedented attack on our residents.”

Salt Lake City is also asking the court for a preliminary injunction to prevent the Authority from spending or committing any of the City’s property tax increment or sales tax revenue pending the outcome of the case. The City is also asking the court to prevent the Authority from engaging in any planning, design, or construction of site improvements or public infrastructure in the jurisdictional area.

The injunction request is in part a response to a $5-million-dollar loan the State of Utah authorized to the Authority for infrastructure improvements during the last legislative session. The legislation requires the Authority to pay back the loan using the City’s property tax increment. If allowed to proceed the City would suffer irreparable harm.

The City has also begun the process of serving the named parties in the lawsuit, including Governor Gary Herbert, the State of Utah, the Utah Inland Port Authority, and Attorney General Sean Reyes.

Salt Lake City originally filed a lawsuit on March 11th, prior to final passage of HB433. At the time, the bill included language prohibiting municipalities from taking legal action against the Inland Port project area. The language was removed prior to passage.

The City Attorney has sent a copy of the filings to the Salt Lake City Council.

The amended lawsuit can be accessed here:

The motion for preliminary injunction can be accessed here: