Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Utah 2019 HB 441 Tax Equalization and Reduction Act

Why the big push for taxes on services? 

A more stable revenue source.

One reason that may be bad: Competition across state lines may drive businesses out of the state.

A second reason this my be bad?

This was written re: raising the food tax but I believe it also applies:
Former State Rep. Jim Nielson

"Sure, that makes things stable for state government. Downright convenient, in fact. But a boon for the government can be a bane to taxpayers."

"To have stable sales tax revenues during economic downturns means the government takes more from taxpayers in bad times, regardless of our diminished ability to pay. We're asked to keep paying, even when we can't. Which begs this question: Just who do we as lawmakers represent, the government or taxpayers?"

The Senate floor sponsor  told the Architects if the invoice was sent to a Utah owner or developer it would be taxed. So an out of state developer could hire a Utah or out of state architect with no sales tax? The instate owner or developer hires an architect (instate or out of state) and they are taxed? What is wrong with this picture?

"If we can’t get tax reform done, a year from now we’ll have to start relying on debt to pay expenses out of the general fund,” said Wilson. “We have four months to fix it.”

According to Utah Art XIII Sec 5 (1, 2 and 3) they can't do that. They have to pass a budget that works.

There is no reason the #utleg can't continue to fund higher ed partly with general funds like they have for the last 10 years and did last year. They just can't keep spending the way they are. We need to tighten our belts not tax more.

At what point are services, defined in 2019 HB 441, intangible property?

Since Art XIII Sec 5 (5) has that money go to the Education Fund, does that change HB 441 ? 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Correct Utah State Flag

In 2011 I learned the Utah flag I had seen my whole life was not the correct flag. I was amazed how pretty the correct one was. I voted to have the flag manufacturers start making the correct Utah flag. If you have a flag that was made between 1922 and 2011, you can still use it but look at a newer flag. Some want to change our current flag but have not seen or compared our current correct Utah flag.

See also

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The year Christmas Changed

The year Christmas Changed.

It was 14 years ago, that I watched my dad die. I called my wife Aleta from the hospital to go over to my mom's to tell her. I later took my mom to pick out a coffin. We didn't have the funeral until the 30th and we still "had Christmas" but some things were not done that year. No business related Christmas cards. Almost no gifts. Even though I knew and still know I will see my dad again, that wasn't important. Family was important. Christ was important. I have no idea how many people were offended I didn't send them a card or gift.

Some things have caused me to still be more outwardly engaged with "the season". Several years my church ward has had a Christmas Card exchange. Aleta and I would print out a hundred or so one page Christmas Cards, and go over to the ward and help sort the many thousands of "cards" that would be delivered by our youth. Our ward didn't do it this year, so no cards again.

Our Rotary Club has had a Sub for Santa for the Family Support Center. We buy gifts for a few families. This year, as a club they didn't fit in a large SUV. One year I went with my wife to pick out a couple of coats. One on this lady's list was over $100. it was a coat a contractor would buy to stay warm. I realized I hadn't ever purchased that nice of a coat for my wife, but she didn't say anything. This year we got 20 stockings and a few items to go with others for our Rotary project. We had our annual wrapping dinner and party. I made a note that "Santa" would need a ride later this year. It was neat to see the kids sit on his knee.

Christmas includes a few gifts, some of my wife's Rice Crispy treats to deliver to a few in the ward. What it really is: reading a couple of chapters in Matthew and Luke, one in Helaman, and one in 3rd Nephi. It means that because of Jesus and his atonement and resurrection, I didn't lose my dad that year, I just don't have his contact info. We will still go see the lights, and visit family. That year many years ago, Christmas changed. It changed me. As I sit in tears, remembering the Son of God, I remember I am still a son because of him.

Merry Christmas. You are still loved, even without all the gifts.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Time to get rid of straight party voting in Utah

When referring to possible changes to elections I have stated:

"IF they really want to change elections, they should get rid of straight party voting as people can now get on the general election ballot as an unaffiliated candidate with signatures bypassing the political parties, and have been able to for many years. They just have a harder time wining with straight party voting. CMV v2.1 does nothing to help unaffiliated voters. That would."

As far as I can remember I have not voted straight party for an election. That goes back approx. 40 years.

I started promoting getting rid of strait party voting at least by Sep. 2017. See for example the bottom of this post. 

When I updated the blog post after CMV amended their proposal it has the same suggestion at the bottom

When I wrote my op-ed for the Salt Lake Tribune in Feb. 2018, it had the same suggestion.

I realized I voted against 2016 HB 119 in committee Feb. 2, 2016, but I was very torn at the time (you can listen to my comments in the committee) have had time to reconsider.

That decision had nothing to do with the 2018 election.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Is Prop 2 ready to vote on

Is Prop 2 ready to vote yes on?

Just take 2 items for example.

$100 fine, but that isn't enforceable. You forget your license to transport or to be a patient, and they have to assume you are legit.

2 oz. of raw material every 2 weeks. Not in any form that has even been claimed to be medicine. You can't smoke the raw material (if they catch you) but you sure can legally heat and breath the vapors.

Two more for added measure, lets take away any city's say in where in their city locations can be. We don't do that for anything else, with the new exception of homeless shelters.

The green cross places can't advertise that they are selling, with the exception of the green cross and that they can advertise for employees.

Vote No on Prop. 2. It isn't ready. 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Why voters Should Not vote for the Fuel Tax Shell Game

Why voters Should Not vote for the Fuel Tax Shell Game

Are we raising the Utah State fuel tax by 33% and somehow expecting it to go toward Public Education?
As you likely know by now a “Nonbinding Opinion Question #1” is on the ballot this fall which reads: "To provide additional funding for public education and local roads, should the state increase the state motor and special fuel tax rates by an equivalent of 10 cents per gallon?"   

Besides the 33% Utah State fuel tax increase being proposed, there are some other major problems with the proposal. While you can use state sales tax money in any of at least three state budget areas, Transportation, Public Education and Higher Education, Education money from Income Tax is limited by the Utah State Constitution to only Public Education and Higher Education.

Fuel Tax money is limited by the Utah State Constitution to Transportation and Transportation items only, not public education.

To advertise that you are going to move taxpayer money around so you are using Transportation only money somewhere else violates at minimum the intent of the Utah Constitution.

The other issue with this proposed shell game is Transportation related sales tax should also go to Transportation - based on the same section in the Utah State Constitution. It is the sales tax going to Transportation that this “shell game” plans to use to make this whole scam “legal”.
With more Utah State Fuel Tax, the promoters of this tax increase think the State Legislature will reduce the amount of State Sales Tax being invested in Transportation and move that to Higher Education and then move more Higher Education money to Public Education.

By using Fuel Tax to increase the Education Fund, at some point you are either directly violating the Utah Constitution or at minimum violating the intent.

Is the idea of asking the voters to agree to this shell game scheme supposed to let the Utah Legislature and the Governor off the hook for not following the State Constitution?

Utah State Constitution, Art XXIII Sec. 5,_Section_5.html?v=UC_AXIII_S5_1800010118000101
Income Tax only for Public Education and Higher Education:
“5)    All revenue from taxes on intangible property or from a tax on income shall be used to support the systems of public education and higher education as defined in Article X, Section 2.

Fuel tax and Transportation related sales tax only for Transportation:
“6)    Proceeds from fees, taxes, and other charges related to the operation of motor vehicles on public highways and proceeds from an excise tax on liquid motor fuel used to propel those motor vehicles shall be used for: (a)    statutory refunds and adjustments and costs of collection and administration; (b)  the construction, maintenance, and repair of State and local roads, including payment for property taken for or damaged by rights-of-way and for associated administrative costs; (c)  driver education; (d)  enforcement of state motor vehicle and traffic laws; and (e)  the payment of the principal of and interest on any obligation of the State or a city or county, issued for any of the purposes set forth in Subsection (6)(b) and to which any of the fees, taxes, or other charges described in this Subsection (6) have been pledged, including any paid to the State or a city or county, as provided by statute. “

There is already a major issue with the Education Fund when the Board of Regents can raise Higher Education tuition without approval from the State Legislature, when they don’t get all the money they want. This increase in the Fuel Tax will not solve that issue.

Vote No on Question #1. We don’t need any more “shell games”.

The most stable and most long term funding of roads in Utah is not the fuel tax. It is the transportation related sales tax. That includes electric cars and tires for any car. Based on the state constitution the transportation related sales tax also goes to transportation. Currently about $579 Million per year. The #utleg has been using the number 17% of the overall sales tax as the approx. value that is transportation related. Based on the 17% number there is currently approx. $18 Million extra money from sales tax going into Transportation. Question 1 proposes to move approx. $125 Million from the sales tax to Education Fund. That means it is in violation of the state constitution. That doesn't even get into that the fuel Tax can't be used for education, with the exception of drivers education.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Original Sponsored Bills from 2011 to 2016

Some comments in the current Election mentioned my effectiveness. I can make this bill list look much larger and pad this list with Co-Sponsored Bills, but those bills are sponsored by someone else and you just sign to endorse them. No other work is required.

Original Sponsored Bills

(Not including Substitute versions,  Co-Sponsored or Floor Sponsored Bills, or amendments to other bills or helping pass or defeat other bills)

HB0221S01    Classic Car Inspections (Gov. Signed)
HB0227    Test Driving Vehicles (Industry Changed)
HB0281    Sex Offender and Kidnapping Amendments (See 2012)
HB0377    Higher Education Textbook Fairness Act (Agency Changed Policy)
HB0380    Utah Lands Protection Act (See 2012)

Several Redistricting map proposals

HB0018S01    Kidnapping Offender Amendments (passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0067S03    Storm Water Capture Amendments (See 2013)
HB0209S01    Utah Lands Protection Act (Alternate Bill passed)
HB0262    Building Code Amendments (Modified in 2013)

2013 (Sponsored for 2013, Transferred, passed and Gov. signed)
HB0036    Storm Water Capture Amendments (passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0215    Water Quality Amendments (passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0262    Unaffiliated Voter Amendments (passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0338    Alimony Revisions (passed, Gov. Signed)

HB0029    Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board Amendments (Passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0126S02    Design Professionals - Amendments (Alternate Passed in 2016)
HB0162    Construction Trades Continuing Education Amendments (See 2016)
HB0177S02    Modifications to Voting Law (Passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0243    Vintage Vehicle Amendments (Passed, Gov. Signed)
HB0281    Revisions to Elections Law
HB0286    Building Code Amendments (Alternate Bill Passed 2016)
HB0448    Disabled Adult Child Guardianship (1/2 passed in another bill)
HB0450    Licensing Modifications (See 2016)

Alternate to moving the Draper Prison

HB0011S02    Referendum Amendments
HB0065S01    Exemption from Daylight Saving Time
HB0069    Qualified Political Party Amendments
HB0080    Vehicle Impound Amendments
HB0101S02 Disabled Adult Guardianship Amendments (Passed and Gov. Signed)
HB0108    Licensing Amendments
HB0109 Construction Trades Education Amendments (Alternate Passed)
HB0125    Fire Code Amendments (Alternate Construction and Fire Codes Passed)
HB0152S01    Voted and Board Local Levy Modifications (passed in HB1)
HB0256    Net Metering of Electricity Amendments
HB0261    Wood Burning Stoves Amendments
HB0269    Recycling of Copper Wire (Passed and Gov Signed)
HB0361    Air Quality Modifications (Included in other passed bill)
HB0429    Specie Legal Tender Amendments
HJR011    Joint Resolution Designating Utah as a Purple Heart State (Passed and Lt. Gov. Signed)

See also:

Also see the Session Update for each year