A proposal to tweak Utah’s property tax legal guidelines may power water conservation

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposal has been unveiled that may rework Utah’s property tax coverage that advocates imagine may power elevated water conservation.

Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, who chairs the Utah State Senate’s Income & Taxation Committee, introduced the thought at a convention of the Utah Taxpayers Affiliation on Wednesday. It might take away subsidies for water use from property taxes.

“In Utah, we use property tax to pay for water,” Sen. McCay informed FOX 13 Information. “Sadly, what that does is it shifts the burden away from individuals’s month-to-month invoice, in order that they know the way a lot water they’re consuming and so they can actually be hooked up to that fee and be incentivized for conservation.”

Sen. McCay stated as a lot as two-thirds of water prices is roofed by property taxes, the remainder comes within the month-to-month invoice for customers.

“In some unspecified time in the future, we have to get some extent within the state of Utah the place your charges are tied to how a lot you’re utilizing,” he stated.

The concept has been tried earlier than, however didn’t achieve a lot traction on Utah’s Capitol Hill. However Rusty Cannon, the president of the Utah Taxpayers Affiliation, stated the drought is forcing the dialog once more. His group is supportive of the coverage shift.

“We will change that, get the suitable tax coverage in place and as you heard right here right now, hopefully that’s coming quickly,” he stated.

Cannon argued it is a fairer tax coverage and would decrease total property tax charges. It might additionally power water conservation by financially impacting water wasters.

“People who use a whole lot of water would pay extra, people who use much less water would pay much less,” Cannon informed FOX 13 Information.

The coverage shift would additionally gather extra money from governments just like the state of Utah, and nonprofits, like church buildings, who presently do not pay a property tax. Sen. McCay stated he was high-quality with that.

“I feel that everybody must pay their share of water, proper? That features nonprofits, governmental entities, and, imagine it or not, it consists of the state,” he stated.

Some within the crowd on the Grand America Resort have been shocked by the proposal.

“All of that’s into account proper now as a result of we face a historic drought,” stated Cameron Diehl, the chief director of the Utah League of Cities and Cities, which represents municipal governments.

Diehl stated he had many questions on how it could work and whether or not it may maintain native water conservancy districts correctly funded. His group was not ready to take a place on the idea.

“I feel it’s nonetheless too early to say it ought to be X or it ought to be Y. We have to have a look at it holistically about what water conservation means for communities, customers, infrastructure, development, companies, the atmosphere. We’ve bought to have a look at all these items.”

Sen. McCay stated he wished to make sure water districts had cash for infrastructure calls for.

“On the finish of the day, the water districts nonetheless have to be complete, they nonetheless want to offer water and so they nonetheless want assurance of constant income to allow them to rely on it for capital initiatives. What we have to do is get to the tip person, so the tip person understands how a lot they’re utilizing and it displays within the invoice,” he stated.

Home Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, was requested concerning the proposal throughout his speech to the Utah Taxpayers Affiliation. He stated water is a significant problem going through the state and it could be one thing they should have dialogue about.

The Speaker, who personally sponsored a invoice to assist save the Nice Salt Lake, stated water calls for in Utah will solely worsen.

“I see all these locations that take water that’s not going to the Nice Salt Lake, not going to Utah Lake, and it’s simply being wasted and the way it’s getting used. We’ve bought to consider that in a different way,” he informed the group.

Sen. McCay stated he supposed to debate the thought in interim legislative hearings over the subsequent 12 months. Any invoice may very well be launched within the 2023 legislative session that begins in January.

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