Poll: Utahns overwhelmingly opposed to elements contained in tax reform

Utah Capitol 04

More than 2/3 of Utahns say they oppose the primary elements of the tax reform package passed by Utah lawmakers in a special session earlier this month.

The new Utah Political Trends survey from UtahPolicy.com and Y2 Analytics asked our panel if they favored or opposed four main elements of the tax reform bill which were:

  • Reducing the overall income tax rate which results in a tax cut for most Utahns.
  • Increasing the fuel tax
  • Restoring the state portion of the sales tax on food coupled with a tax credit for low-income Utahns
  • Expanding the sales tax base by taxing some services and eliminating sales tax exemptions.

When presented with those elements, 34% responded that they were “somewhat” opposed, while another 34% said they “strongly” opposed the tax reform package. Just 5% said they were “strongly” in favor, while 26% are “somewhat” in favor.

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There is significant public opposition to the tax reform package. A group has launched a referendum effort to put the overhaul on the 2020 ballot. Organizers need to gather more than 115,000 signatures by January 21.

Every Republican candidate for governor in 2020 has already voiced their support for the referendum effort, save current Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox who says he cannot take a position because his office will be in charge of the referendum if it gets on the ballot. However, Cox voiced his opposition to the tax reform bill when it was before the legislature. 

Opposition to the bill is strongest among moderate Republicans, independent voters who lean Republican and moderate Democrats. There is no majority support for the tax reform among any partisan group, but the strongest support comes from independent voters who tend to lean Democratic, with 46% expressing they at least “somewhat” support the plan.

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Several Republicans in the legislature voted against the tax bill when it passed earlier this month. Conservative lawmaker Kim Coleman was one of those “no” votes, which raised some eyebrows as she is vying for the GOP nomination in Utah’s 4th Congressional District next year. That negative vote could win her some support, but our poll shows backing for the tax reform package is highest in the 4th District, with 36% favoring the elements in the bill and 64% opposed. 

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The Utah Political Trends Survey was conducted by Y2 Analytics from November 19 to December 7, 2019 among 911 registered Utah voters. It has a margin of error +/- 3.4%.