TO: Utah Media Outlets From: Jason Christensen’s Campaign
IAP Candidate for Utah Senate, Dist. 16
Press Release for IMMEDIATE Release as of 31 Aug 2016
Gas Tax Fiasco to be ‘fixed’ in Special Session
Once again the Utah Legislature, in its collective wisdom, has mucked this up! Last year they raised the gas tax by about a nickel a gallon, for the first time in 19 years – according to reports -, promising the cities and counties a “boost in revenue” of about “17.5 percent this year.” Big surprise, it didn’t happen!
Promising anything and not being able to deliver the promise is essentially a LIE! And our Legislature is exceptionally adept at continuing to lie to voters and still get re-elected. This may be the one that catches Wayne Neiderhauser, Johnny Anderson, Greg Hughes and Company, et al. This time, instead of lying to the students, teachers and parents of the state, to the voters who put them in office, they lied to their fellow elected officials of cities and county governments. OOPS!
Midvale Mayor Joann Seghini is quoted as saying, instead of an increased “boost in revenue” this year, Midvale lost $71,215 (in a Salt Lake Tribune story, August 28, 2016, page B-1, by Lee Davidson).
The culprit was HB362, sponsored by retiring Rep. Johnny Anderson (R-Taylorsville) in 2015. HB362 also allowed cities and counties to vote on Proposition 1`, the referendum which would supposedly “solve long festering” transportation problems and issues with the infrastructure. Prop 1 failed.
Mayor Seghini also said, “My city [residents] voted for it [Prop 1], but Salt Lake County [voters] didn’t because they hate UTA [Utah Transit Authority],” so it failed, she said. “We would have received $541,000 from it. The loss of both of those impacted our ability to have a sustainable budget without a property tax increase.”
Utah League of Cities and Towns (ULCT) says cities are being shortchanged by $8.5 million because of the legislature’s inept reformulations for the “B&C Road Fund,” the local share of state gasoline taxes. But ULCT and the Association of Counties both worked on the calculations for the formulas. “The calculations didn’t come out the way that they had hoped, so we made another adjustment to it in 2016,” Anderson is quoted as saying in the Tribune article.
The 2016 ‘legislative adjustment’ was in the form of HB60. The ‘adjustment’ flipped things so the rural counties, with larger amounts of B&C road miles to maintain to benefit all state residents, “would see increases of about 82 percent” instead of the promised 17.5 percent. The attorney for ULCT, Cameron Diehl, said the formula cuts the gas tax share of urban cities and towns.
“We are just trying to figure out a way to shift some of it back,” said Lincoln Shurtz, a lobbyist for the Utah Association of Counties. Both Diehl and Shurtz hope to present final calculations next month, in time for a special session in October to make the needed fixes. Special Sessions cost taxpayers a minimum of $30,000, a costly ‘fix.’ Anyone wanna take a bet on efficacy of the fix?
Both Utah Senator Curt Bramble (R- Provo, District 16) and Rep. Kevin Stratton (R-Orem, District 48) voted for both HB362 and HB60 twice, like they can’t say ‘No’ to a tax increase! This tax increase averaged an estimated $13 per $1000 out of citizen’s pockets. The fiscal note to the bill states a business driving 12000 miles a year, with a vehicle making 25 miles per gallon, would pay an additional $24 a year. A house valued at $250,000 could see an increase of $48 in 2016, due to this bill; because cities can now put additional taxes on either property tax notices or on each and every utility bill.
Jason Christensen’s solution to this morass of tax increases and costly additions is to scrap the whole bill and make actual serious cuts to pay for the B&C road maintenance as well as needful things in government. As the only challenger to the 16 year incumbent in Utah Senate District 16 race, and as a candidate on the Independent American Party ticket, Christensen is a proven principled conservative candidate.